Time is a funny thing. Hilarious, really. Just when the days seem to be dragging on, you look back at a year and wonder where it disappeared to.
Hours rarely measure up — they’re either too fast or too slow. When trying to make curfew, 10 minutes flies by like two. When waiting for a date, 10 minutes feels like 50.
The funniest thing of all about time, though, is how human beings choose to deal with it.
First, to be chronologically correct, are the people that dwell too much on the past. These people (mostly everyone) are the reason for quotes like, “Keep moving forward” and “Don’t look back.”
For me, the tendency to focus on what is behind me is strongest when I’m going through a big change in my life. As of now, moving away from the town I’ve lived in all my life, and starting school with a whole bunch of people probably more talented and ambitious than me, definitely counts as one of those changes.
As relieved as I am that it’s over, my heart still feels a little sad when I pass the high school. It still feels foreign to have the majority of my books in boxes in the garage, and it is especially painful and bizarre to say good-bye to friends who have been around for huge chunks of my life.
Andre Maurois said, “The first recipe for happiness is: Avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.” Failure to move on from past failures, relationships, grudges and mistakes hinders the ability to act effectively in the future. It is a dangerous game to let longing for the past cloud judgment and the ability to be happy and events transpiring now.
Next, there are those in the middle that put almost their entire focus on the present. Fresh out of high school, this may be a biased observation, but teenagers do seem to love looking at life with this outlook. The “Go with the flow,” “Hakuna Matata,” “Live for the now” mentality has its fair points — but also several serious pitfalls.
Living only for the present, in my limited experience, tends to stray towards selfishness. Disregarding consequences and past triumphs or failures, and failing to prepare for and recognize future possibilities, leads to an existence beneficial to few. As a whole, it tends to be dissatisfying.
Insisting that everything will work out as the days go on without looking at all towards the future is, for awhile, the easiest outlook to hold. It is fun and carefree and a bit magical to forget every part of time other than the one happening now. It’s easy to spend money, slack off on classes, party and live up each moment.
However, when the future hits (i.e. when tuition and housing payments are due) all of those moments that were individually lived for (i.e. Roxberry trips, Lagoon days and clothes shopping sprees) don’t seem quite so worth it anymore. Why yes, I am speaking from recent experience, how did you know?
Then, there are those that put too much emphasis on the future. As I’m dipping the tips of my toes in the massive, terrifying ocean of adulthood, I am starting to realize why many adults that I know are the ones that fall into this category.
Standing on the edge of the cliff (speaking metaphorically of those birds that get pushed out of their nests from ridiculous heights so they are forced to learn to fly), I am about to take a crazy leap of faith and thinking that maybe preparing future details isn’t so unpleasant after all. With so many unknowns, charting out a definite course seems like a matter of necessity and security.
At the same time, planning so meticulously is beginning to make me feel impatient and irritated with where I am now. Even with the best intentions, days are dissatisfying when all I’m thinking about is what comes next.
Finally, there are those impressive people that somehow manage to find the happy medium. It may not sound like an impossible feat, but those who manage to learn and grow from the past, enjoy every moment of the present and prepare for and look forward to the future are my heroes.
So, seeing as how this is my final column with the Transcript, I feel a bit nostalgic, kind of overwhelmed, but I’ll try to find that mixture and be content with each day.
Even if secretly, I just really want to get to college already!
Siera Gomez is a freshman at Brigham Young University.