I was texting a friend the other day, and we were talking about how quick the transition is between being a high school kid living under your parents house, and a not so much older college kid who has to learn how to be a “grown up.” He jokingly suggested that before we know it we will be college graduates and working in the real world. His joke, though funny, scared the crap out of me. It made me realize a few things about life.
The thought of how fast things have changed over the past few years, and even the past few months boggles my mind. Four years ago, I was a freshman at Lumberton High School lost in a sea of 2300 students, probably more people than I had seen in my entire life on a regular basis, not including sports games. At that time the thought of college was something I shied away from, mostly because it seemed so far away, but also because it scared me to an extent. And yet here at am in Chapel Hill, a freshman in college.
I also started thinking about how quick the time passes and managed to make myself a little gloomy in the process. Many experiences that I have had in life, like playing rec. league baseball, summers spent almost entirely outdoors, and learning how to ride my bike are already over. But then I realized that happens for everyone, and the fact that I am just 18 years old means that there are many life experiences that will be way cooler than many that I had in the past. My life has just begun. Ecclesiastes 3 also reminded me just to slow myself down:
3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
I realize that there is a time to reminisce about the past, and a time to worry about the future. But today is not that time. Right now its time to just live.
I’m sure that one day I will remember memories of college and wish I could go back. But in essence life is not about making memories, and living in the past. Life is about going out and enjoying life, making memories, enjoying the present, and appreciating and carrying past experiences with you.
It is true that with each pressing moment I’m getting closer to becoming a “grownup” and further away from being a kid. Sometimes I wonder where the time went. But I realize continuing to contemplate the past, regretting all the naps I missed in elementary school, and how cool it was to just enjoy being a kid does not do me (or anyone really) any good.
I have decided that rather than internally complaining how much its going to suck having to pay bills, work every day, and having an increasing number of people start to call me “Mr. Frederick” instead of just “Jack” in the next few years, I’m going to use this epiphany to set a few goals for myself over my college career
- Enjoy living in the moment. I realized this week that memories are good reminders to keep making them. Not everything will be a positive experience for me, but everything will be meaningful. I hope to enjoy life in the moment more.
- Travel the country. As much as I love the South, I want to be able to experience other parts of the greatest country in the world. Hopefully by the time I graduate I will have at least witnessed visiting the West Coast, if not take a grand road trip one of these days, or maybe even get over to Hawaii or Alaska one day.
- Travel to another country. I’m not much of a traveler, but I want to be able to see what at least one other country is like. (For some strange reason the top of my list is Australia.)
- Do something I could never see myself doing. I’m not really thinking on the level of doing something illegal, or getting myself arrested, but enjoying an experience that I never could have imagined myself doing. Its good to get outside the box sometimes
- Learn a new sport. I consider myself a sports fanatic, but even considering little league sports I haven’t ventured much beyond the big three, baseball, basketball, and football (with the occasional ultimate and racquetball mixed in). Even if I don’t fall in love with another sport, I want to learn how to play something else. Who knows, maybe even golf.
- Take time to develop new skills. While I am good at some things there are many more others that I am no good at, amongst them is being organized. By the time I graduate I hope to have honed some new skills for life.
- Keep writing. I like to write, and I hope that no matter if I continue in journalism or pick a completely different career I don’t give up writing.
I know my goals are not especially noteworthy or meaningful to most people, but they mean something to me. Hopefully everyone can find some goals that mean something to them and go after them.
I think every once in a while its good for everyone to take a moment and look back on the past, and use that time to set some goals for yourself in the future.
The impending crisis of adulthood looms over us all and leaves us with two roads that we can pick from. We can pick the road to grumbling, complaining, and awaiting it to get here, or we can choose to enjoy our time just how life is right now in this awkward stage between childhood and adulthood. The second option sounds a lot more enjoyable to me. As memories have reminded me, life will never ever be like it is right now again. I’m going to grab life by the horns and let it take me where it does.
I also promise that even though one day I may officially become a “real adult” I will never ever ever grow up. Always set goals, but never grow up.
“That’s the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.”-Walt Disney
If nothing else was worth it for you to read, here’s a Sarah Palin and Donald Trump video for you to enjoy for your trouble. https://youtu.be/0pinZNYxQeo