Falling Pianos

Emilie - Raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on November 19, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

I believe that a piano may fall on my head at any time, and consider it a comforting thought. Let me explain. When I started practicing yoga at 15, my instructor often calmly reminded the class to “be in the present moment.” It all sounded very nice while I was lying in final relaxation pose, especially coming from an attractive yogi with a soothing bass. But it was a struggle to apply it to my goal-driven life outside of yoga class. The message I found in school and work was always, “Achieve!” and “Plan!” It certainly was not, “let the past and future take care of themselves and be here.” But after seven years, I’ve learned a way to adopt a modified version of my yoga instructor’s mantra, involving a runaway musical instrument.

Now I am at an uncertain time in my life. I recently graduated from college and am participating in a full-time service program. But after this service year is up I have no idea which direction to take. Do I pursue my beautiful but impractical dream of becoming a writer? Can I leave behind the political work I’ve been doing after I’ve seen the lack of staff and resources? Should I enroll directly in graduate school, wait a few years, or not go at all? These questions plague me, because I know my decisions at this time of life can send me down diverging paths. And with the current economic downturn, I have to worry further about the financial feasibility (or lack thereof) of each option.

But whenever questions of my future begin to grate on me too much, I remind myself that the future only exists in my mind, and worrying about it is robbing me of this moment. Right now I am fighting for change through my service work. Right now I am experiencing living in a new part of the country. And right now I am living tight and consequently finding out what’s really important to me. And if an errant Steinway happens to fall on my head in the next minute, these experiences will be enough. I believe in the power of this moment.