As I sit here typing this, I find myself thinking an awful lot about almost everything imaginable. I’m thinking about what the future is going to hold, what’s going to happen with graduation, starting up college next year, the job I want, and most immediately when I’ll be able to see my friends again. And I know I’m not alone in any of these.
But there’s one thought in particular that hasn’t left my mind ever since we all got quarantined. It’s how easy it is to get lost in the future, and as a result, forget to truly immerse yourself in the present. We’re all guilty of it. As soon as we leave that party, concert, sporting event, or dream vacation spot, the first thing to pop into our heads is almost always “I can’t wait for next time.” And that’s OK. But as high school draws to a close, albeit in a way no one saw coming, I find myself wishing I had fully lived in the moment instead of dwelling on things that were days, weeks, or months away.
To use a personal anecdote for a moment, this year on the cross country team I was fortunate enough to be a part of an extremely talented and hard-working group of guys who would end up qualifying for the state meet in early November. As soon as I crossed the finish line at state, I remember finding all the rest of the boys and talking about our performances. Then back at the team tent, the conversation slowly turned to an upcoming regional meet in Indiana, as well as the coming track season. We hadn’t even left the best race of our lives, and we were already focused on meets as far out as three months from then.
Fast-forward to the start of that highly-anticipated track season, and I was on crutches from a surprise injury that would force me out of the entire indoor season, before everything ultimately ended up getting cancelled for reasons we’re all familiar with by now. Had I known the state meet would be my last-ever high school race, I would have taken so much more time to truly appreciate what we had achieved. If my four amazing years at Downers Grove North have taught me one thing, it’s that while you can’t relive your past successes or failures, you can focus more on enjoying your present and future opportunities, and make every moment count.