Be the Tortoise in Life

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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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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