The summer between 8th grade and freshman year of high school, I went away to summer camp for the first time. I made the mistake of going without any friends, which may have been a factor in my overall experience. I had a terrible time. Just awful. I didn’t enjoy any of the activities, nor did I even make an effort to. All I wanted was for that week to end. I left that final day with a newfound hatred for summer camp and no new friends, despite the fact that I spent every hour of the past seven days with a ton of other girls my age.
Looking back, I wish I would have enjoyed my time there more. We did so many cool activities and I could have made some new friends. But instead I decided to sit there and wish my time away. This is just one example of a time that I wished something would end so I could move onto something bigger and better. I’ve done this a lot over the course of my eighteen years on this planet. I wanted it to be summer every time the temperatures were below zero in the winter. I wanted to be old enough to drive. I wanted to graduate high school. Instead of living in the moment and enjoying what I had, I chose to wish for the future.
One of my high school classmates mentioned in a speech, “we like to say that these are the best years of our lives, but I always like to think that the best is yet to come.” Obviously this quote resonated with me, as I am repeating it a year later. I totally understood what he was trying to say. We have great things ahead of us. We are going to become doctors and presidents and writers and artists. We are going to change the world. But at the same time, I’d like to challenge this idea. Yes, we have amazing feats coming our way. Yes, we should plan and look towards the future. But we should also be living in the moment. We should be enjoying these days that we have, not wishing them away. Because one day we are going to wish for them back.
Lately, it seems that everyone is wishing for the future. High school seniors are itching to graduate. Us college students are longing to go back to campus and see our friends. My mom is wishing for the end of the summer, when her kitchen will be clean and the house will be quiet again. But unfortunately, life doesn’t have a fast forward button. We can’t just choose to speed through the tough parts. So why not make the most of it? Why not enjoy every moment and make some good memories along the way?
I’d really like to think that these truly are what people call the best years of my life. But they also could be yet to come. I am trying my hardest to not wish these years away. College is hard, everyone that’s been through it can attest to that. But instead of wishing for graduation, I want to make the most of my time. I want to take advantage of all the opportunities given to me (specifically free food). I want to make memories with my friends and do things that I am not going to have the time or energy to do once I start a real job.
So whatever you do, please do not wish these years away. Whether this is the best time of your life or not, someday you are going to look back and wish you had appreciated all that you had.