Cole_141111_1233Sometimes I wonder whether I was born in the wrong era. I am inspired to write poetry on my Royal–Standard typewriter. I have a rotary telephone plugged into the wall and antique trunk luggage with vintage travel stickers stacked around my bedroom.

It’s true: I often feel out of place in our loud, fast-paced society. Don’t get me wrong. Hollywood blockbusters, iPhones and Pinterest are great; however, if you ask me, they are no match for antiques. I blame my grandfather Donald Burrows for my fascination with period pieces. My grandfather collects gorgeous classic cars, vintage gas pumps, iconic signs and all things vintage. Afternoons spent with him at countless swap meets, yard sales and with his many collector friends taught me to love and appreciate the character found in artifacts with stories to tell.

I remember seeing 10 vintage Mobilgas signs lined up in my grandfather’s show-room, each with a bold, red Pegasus spreading its wings. The typography, the vivid colors, even the dents and other traces of aging, served as testimony to their journey through the years. Where some may have seen flaws, I saw personality. Of course, not every spoon, dress or toaster circa 1920 becomes an antique. The very item that qualifies as antique often depends on whom you ask. The only constant is an underlying appreciation for detail and timelessness.

While my antique collection is at the moment quite meager, my eye is still developing. Drop me off in an antique store, and I will be drawn to cameras, film equipment, heavy wood furniture and kitchen appliances. My college budget does not leave much spending money for auxiliary purchases, but I am an avid window shopper. In fact, it is when I browse that I learn the most. Even if you do not like the musty smell of antique stores, or you cannot overcome the separation anxiety from modern technology, I think you can appreciate the individuality that distinguishes the old from the new. That trait, that rarity, is something we can all apply to our lives.

Passion, creativity, intellect and talent are what make each of us unique. Although, as a college student, I may not qualify as vintage yet, my “sage” advice would be to find the thing that matters most to you and live it. Cookie cutters are great for some things–cookies, for example. But a one-size-fits-all approach is not right for others, such as cars, homes, wardrobes, people and your life. Do not waste your time with the mundane, or spend time with people who make you feel average. Avoid professions that do not ignite a fire within, and choices that quiet your singular voice. We have all been given a chance–one chance–to live. Don’t limit yourself. Your life should not resemble a product leaving the assembly line. You have the time and abilities to craft who you are, what you stand for, and all you strive for.

Life’s challenge is to preserve our personality and individuality like a rare, valuable antique. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have the life of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO than a 2015 Honda Civic.

Mikayla Voxen, Editor-in-Chief