Freshman semester at Cornerstone University, I was falling in love with school. Living in a dorm gave me the opportunity to eat, play, sleep, and live with friends in a way that made every day exciting. I was experiencing a new level of independence and I was getting good grades. Granted, it took a few weeks, but by Thanksgiving break, Cornerstone was really feeling like home. In fact, come break, I thought I felt more at home at school than at my parent’s home and I would’ve even spent a day of break at school just because I liked it so much.
However, by Tuesday evening, most people were heading off campus to go home and campus was suddenly dead. Honestly, it’s the people and the community more so than the space that made CU feel like home. So as the people left on break, I felt like my home was dissolving; purely melting away while I stood there.
It struck me that even if I stood in the same place as before break, during break it was completely out of my control to make that place feel like home.
Timing was impeccable.
Now I’m graduating in two weeks. I’m terrified. Sometimes I try to calm myself down by reminding myself that I can return and visit Cornerstone regularly if I live nearby. So I won’t be totally abandoning the once-in-a-lifetime college experience, right?
But even when I return to the same place to visit, it won’t be the same. I won’t feel at home in the same way. My friends won’t have the same schedules. We won’t be as close. I won’t know as many people. It won’t be where I belong.
I didn’t intentionally enjoy my freshmen year as much as I wish I would have. I figured I had a couple of years left of school and didn’t think to be grateful for it until it was nearly done. But even as I am intentionally appreciative of being a student senior semester, I realize I’ve already long lost the feel of being a freshman student. I’m not as carefree, not as experimental, not as new to the whole thing. Even though I’m still going to the same school, I can never get the freshmen feel back. Later, even though I visit the same school, I’ll never be able to get this senior feel back.
This sounds so negative. So what the heck am I trying to say??
You may be able to reminisce about the past. And in the future, you may be able to revisit. But there will never be another moment exactly like the present. And in every moment, there is something to be grateful for.
So, as a senior wishing I had been more intentional in the past, I’d like to ask you to be intentional now: what do you have right now that you are grateful for? What’s something about school or your job or your friends that you can appreciate right in the present?
I don’t want to devalue your blessings of the past, nor instill a fear of the future–each of those have their own things to be grateful for. However, I want you to appreciate what you have right now (even if your tendency is just to push through the present, to make it to a “better” future) because there will never again be a moment quite like this one.
I appreciate reader comments. What can you appreciate about right now?