So I’m about to leave high school pretty soon and suddenly every high school movie I’ve ever watched is running through my head and I can’t help but feel unexplainably sad.
I mean, I know in the grand scheme of life, leaving high school is going to seem pretty miniscule, especially to those who have seen much more of life. But to me, the end of high school seems like the end of everything I’ve known. It seems like the moment I leave, this door will close, a door I can’t go back through, a door that leads to my childhood, my life so far, and everything I cherish from those times.
I sound silly – I know. Just because I leave home doesn’t mean my parents will suddenly disown me, or that my friends from home will never speak to me again. I know that I will always have the memories of growing up. But for some reason, my chest tightens and I feel like my heart is breaking whenever I realize “this is my last year. This is my last first day of school, my last first period class, my last school dance, my last choir concert”.
For the last six years of school, I’ve been counting down the days until I can leave, worrying endlessly about getting into college, preparing and planning for the future, and often forgetting to enjoy the moment while I can. I think that’s a common feeling in many people – we plan and worry for the future so often that we forget the reason for the present – to enjoy and cherish. And even when we get to “the future” we don’t stop to be happy that we made it and celebrate our achievements, instead we keep going, keep planning. In the end, we will never be satisfied.
To a certain point, this attitude can be good – it can motivate us to keep moving forward and never settle for less than we are capable of. But overdo it, and we become unhappy and frustrated and forget to live.
After three years of high school I have never once been to a school dance, never had a weekend completely free. I’ve skipped friends birthdays, locked myself in my room to work, and spent hours feeling insecure about where i was at in life – was I behind everyone else? Did I measure up to the standard?
Now, with the end of high school in sight, I regret all of the time and energy I wasted worrying about the future, not taking a break when I knew I needed it, jeopardizing my health for the sake of “my future”. I regret not taking moments to appreciate my friends and family, spend time with my mom after her long work day, or just relax on my own with a good book.
What’s the point of planning for the future if you can’t enjoy it when you get there? Even if I achieve everything I hope to, will I ever feel happy if I’m constantly reaching for something else?
The future isn’t a guarantee – we may live for seventy more years or we may never see tomorrow. What we can guarantee is the moment – something we already have in our grasp, but it’s up to us to make the most of it.