Stop and smell the present

Our daily obligations have us constantly looking towards the future.

Kate Nelson

As I racked my brain for an appropriate topic for this week’s column, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the plethora of papers strewn across my desk; and by desk, I mean desk, floor, nightstand and bed. I found myself exhausted and unable to combat the worries creeping into my mind while pondering what readers should know and what I should impress upon you.

Earlier this week, I was frazzled, to say the least, while trying to prioritize, and simply find time for, the various aspects of my life. The sheer thought of the obligations ahead of me, let alone figuring out how to juggle them, overwhelmed me.

Now before this starts to sound like I’m throwing a pity party, let me make myself clear. I’m offering a bit of support for something many can relate to: the struggle to keep up with the status quo of being a college student – a balancing act of academia, employment, some semblance of a social life and, time permitting, taking care of or even enjoying oneself.

A perfectionist all my life, I have a difficult time putting forth anything but my best effort in every task I undertake. Not necessarily a bad frame of mind, you say, but pair that quality with the desire to take on almost anything I think I can handle, and I feel as if I’m the ball beneath the circus elephant, trying to bear all that weight.

While running from activity to activity and struggling to schedule in even the most basic needs (sleep or showering, for example), I began to worry what would happen if one of the balls I was juggling were to fall or what would ensue if, heaven forbid, an external force somehow foiled my feverishly paced schedule.

Just before reaching my breaking point, I realized the only way I could have control was to recognize just how little of my life could be controlled. And in doing that, I became aware that I have full reign over the small portion of my life that I can.

It is exhausting just contemplating the duties placed in front of college students: choosing paths for the rest of our lives (or, realistically, segments thereof), molding ourselves into the people we hope to become, establishing and fostering those relationships that supposedly are without expiration dates and all the while remaining comfortable with our ever-evolving selves.

Sometimes it seems a mortgage, a nine-to-five and a golden retriever would be much easier.

Our obligations have us constantly looking to the future, whether that be the weekend, the end of the semester or the culmination of our tenures here at the University.

It would be valuable to realize that our forthcoming selves will be pale shadows of the people we are and hope to be if, in our present, we only feed the needs of our futures.

The moral of my rambling, simply put, is if you don’t allow yourself a break, you will, and that the future will come, regardless of if you’re ready and waiting, so you best not forgo today.

Kate Nelson welcomes comments at [email protected]