Time does not stop when we want it to, it does not slow when we would ask it to, and it does not fast forward when we beg it to. In class, we watch the clock attentively, pining for the second hand to tick faster. When we look at the calendar, we hope to speed through the weeks, past tough test schedules and directly into vacations.
We have all been guilty of it – wishing the minutes, hours and days away, rushing toward a time of our choosing – a vacation, a concert or a birthday. Yet, when we finally get there, it seems time dissolves right there in front of us, melting away more quickly than we could ever imagine. That is the essence of time, and my bet is it sounds quite familiar to you.
I was quite ready for Fall Break to arrive last week, as I am sure you were. A week without tests, deadlines and Ramen Noodles was a paradise that I dreamed about during the weeks leading into break. Now, like a flash, here I am again writing a new column and getting ready for the homestretch leading into finals. The break was gone before I even realized it, and with it, the time leading up to it.
Hours spent watching TV, playing cards and drinking beverages with my friends flickered by almost without notice, minutes and seconds that make up the best parts of life. I was so busy looking forward I failed to realize the wonderful moments I was being treated to in the present. Even over the break I was guilty of the same thing – eagerly looking forward to Thanksgiving and other events throughout the week, wishing away the time in between. I can't believe we are almost done with an entire semester in Ram Country, and yet, here we are – heading into the last few weeks before finals.
Time flies by almost without notice, even as we urge it to accelerate. Over the break, I turned 20, one of those really anticlimactic birthdays; not much comes along with turning 20, other than wishes to be 21. During my b-day dinner, I was talking about my plans for the next year's celebration – most notably blowing a good chunk of my savings account in Las Vegas. That is when it hit me. By this time next year, my coveted 21st birthday, some things will have changed. My best friend, a guy I literally consider my brother, will have moved to London to study, and I will probably not get to celebrate my big day with him. Not the end of the world I know, but it is one of those realizations that really hit home. If I spend my whole 20th year looking forward to my 21st, I will be throwing away a lot of amazing everyday moments, moments that make life more then just a series of days circled on a calendar.
That is why I am going to go through this year of mine with a different approach – looking forward not to events on the calendar, but the moments wedged between those events. As we hit this final run toward Winter Break, I urge you to try to enjoy the little things. Stop and truly taste that drink you have with a close pal, or really give it your all while you play basketball at the rec center. I know I kind of sound like a motivational poster or bumper sticker, but you would be surprised how rich your life is when you focus on nothing but the present. And guess what? Time will tick by just as fast while you enjoy the little moments as it would if you looked only toward the big ones. Good luck in the next three weeks, and I hope that the time moves at just the right speed for you to get to your big events, while still allowing you to cherish the moments in between.
Jake Blumberg is a sophomore technical journalism and political science double major. His column runs every Monday in the Collegian.