On Turning 21

On Turning 21

I constantly live in the future, but it is time I begin living in the present.

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I recall my knees trembling and thoughts racing through my mind as a wimpy kindergartner as I walked through my grade school halls and tilted my head up to catch a glimpse at the tall, scary eighth graders rush past me.

"It is going to be a looooooong time until I am in eighth grade, what will I be like then? Will I be tall? What will I look like? Will my hair still be curly? Will I be able to read all the books I always wanted to read? Will I be smart?"

In addition to believing the day I would be in eighth grade would never come, I also believed the day I would turn 21 would never come. The future has always been in the back of my mind and I never expected for it to creep up on me this quickly.

I have 17 days until I turn 21, and as most students my age begins to feel excited as they will finally be able to drink and buy alcohol, for me, it is the age my once kindergarten self-thought was "old" and "far, far away." You probably just thought, "Really? THAT is what you are thinking about?"

Now, do not get me wrong, I am excited to turn 21. I feel as though it is an exciting birthday. I mean, do you remember turning 19? There is nothing exciting about 19. Therefore, approaching a big milestone does in fact bring an immense amount of happiness and excitement as I begin to feel more of an adult.

Though, as I reflect on turning 21, I recognize the fact that my life is similar to the "Hare" in the famous "Tortoise and the Hare" story. I am always living in the future, constantly worrying about internships and whether or not I will get a job… (Yes, I am that anxious and it sounds crazier typed out that it does in my mind). It is not to say turning 21 will be "life changing" but as this milestone draws near, I desire to live in the moment and stop worrying about the future as my life only goes by that much faster that way. I recall my freshman year college self-saying, "Junior year is so far away" but now it is here… I am living in this moment but I am only thinking about the future. How am I to enjoy the present if I am living in the future? I challenge myself to be the tortoise and take each day at a time and enjoy every second. Being a college student is never easy and there are many challenges as I must balance school work, club meetings, friendships, sleep, and much more. But, there are so many opportunities to take part of and make them blissful memories. I am tired of counting down the days until I get to go home and am looking over the fact I get to live with my absolute best friends and see them all each and every day! Pretty soon, we will be off starting our careers and I will miss the idea of waking up yelling "Alexa! Play Body by Loud Luxury" as we all get excited and dance around the room.

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with someone about a course we are required to take at our University. I explained how my teacher was not too difficult, and they replied "Well Kirsten, you are crazy. Crazy in a good way. All you do is work and sit in the library, I wish I could be that way." In that moment, I recognized this individual was in no means making fun of me, but instead it reminded me that I often do not take time to look up from my books and enjoy what is going on. I have the incredible opportunity to being studying 845 miles away from home, in the beautiful town of Fairfield, Connecticut that is so close to the ocean. In the moment, it might not appear like anything but in the future I recognize I will regret not exploring the world around me as much as I knew I could have.

It is in these moments that my boyfriend reminds me of the famous quote:

"If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present."
― Lao Tzu

If you are like me and are living in the future, it is time to be thankful for the present. There will be challenges, some days will be difficult to sit down and study, but the other days make them worth wild. Your future will unfold eventually and you will work hard toward it now, but recognize your time now as you might not even get a tomorrow. The tortoise might be slow, but he still finishes and finishes proudly. Therefore, Be the tortoise in life and you will find success.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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The Power Of Journaling

Slowing down in a fast pace world.

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In a world where everything is moving so fast pace, I have found comfort in taking small moments to reflect on the blurring images around me. I have always loved to journal, but recently I have found a system that works very well for me.

One habit that I have newly formed is creating a section in my journal that I like to call "Get Out of My Head." Life moves very fast and sometimes my thoughts can't keep up. This causes stress, anxiety, sadness and even the feeling of loneliness. I have created this section in my journal to be a safe place where I can just scribble down whatever is taking over my head, but there is a trick.

Like I stated previously, I have always loved to journal, but I never found ultimate comfort in it because I would go back and read what I wanted to remove from my mind. This was causing me to reexperience what I didn't want to. I highly suggest having a place in your journal that is essentially a flame for all th4e thoughts you want to rid of.

On the contrary, have a section in your journal where you love to look. I try and fill this section with happy thoughts, quotes, verses, and gratitude. This makes journaling and reading your entries something to look forward to, rather than not.

In conclusion, journaling is unique for everyone and it takes some time to figure out exactly the right way. But once you discover the safe place that journaling can be, it can change your life forever.

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