Credit: Emma Korpics
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The Summer I Grew Up

Living with your eyes open.

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You don't realize how fast life is going until you really look into how much time has passed between each memory. I think about when I was sitting in the car as my mom drove me around because I didn't have a license. It feels like that was simultaneously yesterday and a lifetime ago.

There was a time when you worried about getting up early enough so you don’t miss the school bus and about what you’re going to wear for Halloween. Problems were so simple and you had time to worry about them. Now it seems we move so fast that you have to have all of the solutions in place before the problem occurs. “I have to have a minor in case my major isn’t good enough.”

The summer between freshman year of college and sophomore year is where I’ve done the most growing up. Obviously once you leave home and you have to fend for yourself (for the most part), you start to grow as an individual. However I’m not talking about individuality or relying on yourself, but growing up in the context of perception. I now see that time is precious and every minute has to be taken advantage of - and in this I have found a way to make an experience out of everything.

Sunsets used to just happen every single day; that is all that they meant to me. It signified the end of my day as I worried about how my mascara was running out. I remember looking out of the window on a car ride and noticing the sky looked pretty, but then I had to choose the next song to come on. I went to school in Manhattan freshman year and this is when I realized how much they mean to me. I couldn’t see the sunset from my apartment and there was nowhere nearby to fully enjoy the sunset in its entirety because buildings were always in the way. Like they say “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Now I go outside every day and I sit behind my shed and watch the sunset. I have come to realize that every sunset is a new experience; some more marvelous than others but they never fail to empty my mind and make me feel better.

Everything about our generation is planned. It’s so important to find time for yourself and appreciate the life you have, the people you get to love and the beauty. Beauty being in whatever you want that to be: the windows down as you drive on an empty road with music blasting, the feel of your favorite blanket, the smiles on your friends' faces because you said something witty, the silence, or the sunset.

I've been alive for 19 years now, but I feel as if I have been living with my eyes half shut. I realize now there is no such thing as wasted time or need for regret. This is what living is and the sooner that's realized, the better. The best moments are unexpected and time is fleeting. Make sure to catch those moments before you realize they're gone.

“Forever is composed of nows.” - Emily Dickinson

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