The not-so distant future
I always tease with my friends that I can’t wait to be eighty. No more work, no more money issues . . . ten years of life expectancy. I’m honest when I say it would be nice to be an 80 year-old who’s worked his share and retired.
At the same time, it’s horrifying to think of all the life that would have gone by if the jump was made. Movies like Big or 13 Going on 30 do little to show the negative side of suddenly being a successful adult. I feel like, given the opportunity, it wouldn’t be outlandish for a lot of students to want that for themselves.
Despite all the lost years. If you believe it, our own way of life shaves away precious time from under our very eyes.
While catching a breather between these grueling weeks of school, I found myself watching clips of the movie My Dinner With Andre. Two funny men deliberating on the complexities of life and how both have found purpose in different ways makes for an interesting watch.
One clip (among many) stuck out. Wallace Shawn (more easily recognized as that guy from The Princess Bride who says “inconceivable!”) spoke about how fruitless it is that everyone has their little goals, and that no matter what, they’ll always be tuned in to their own little goals.
I understood what he meant; in the grand scheme of things, one’s own goals look laughably small amid billions of other people, no matter how important the goals are to the individual. I thought it was strange that both men agreed on this despite having completely different views on life.
Shawn’s character was so simplistic, and Andre was extravagant in every way. Clearly, the point is relevant no matter the background of the person.
Additionally, Assistant Dean in Admissions Adam Leugsch-Tehle once brought to mind very similar and useful advice: Patiently prepare to be successful in the present. Opportunity does lie around every corner. Biting down and acting now is the type of activity that actually produces the paydirt that is so desired. Don’t be afraid to grab experience right in front of you instead of biding time and hoping that something better comes along.
“Hey Riley, that’s great and all, but what do you mean?” It means that doing things strictly for a better future makes for a terrible life! If I sat in the bathroom for six hours a day because I will eventually have to poop, then I have effectively watched hours of my life bounce away among the tile and stalls.
Sounds silly, right? Well, the same activity exists in subtle ways. Pretending to be someone’s friend long enough to gain their favor, studying something that causes misery but will look good on a résumé, missing concerts or socials that will never come again because there’s some other little obligation instead; these are all ways in which we burn time now so that we might be happier with ourselves someday.
When I worked at McDonald’s, one of the managers went to school to be a nurse, but she chose to run the store because it paid better. For some reason, I don’t think expensive perfume covers how you sweat fry oil.
Truthfully, we all need to focus on the now. There are more problems that can be solved with minute changes to the present than with great plans for the future. Think of the times that would have been nice to have back because you yourself were not “present.” Sometimes I find myself thinking about homework that needs to be done instead of giving my full self to my friends.
If we’re constantly working towards the future, it is all too easy to wake up and realize that life has gone by without having been lived.