Today

Camille - Hudsonville, Michigan
Entered on January 27, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in today; in the inescapable and ever present moment. Not in the manic mantra sort of way that leads young men to risk their lives by skydiving or fighting, but in a way that is constantly aware of the concepts of fragility and temporary. This moment is all we have.

In every circle, in every scene, in every town, it is always the same. People want to talk about “ole’ days” or “back when we were first starting out…” They want to talk about how good it was back then and how it can never, will never be as good. Yet, they fail to realize that it is this very mindset that has caused the downturn in quality. On the other side of this, one often runs across quite the opposite. These people will regret and hold grudges about the past. With deep chips on their shoulders they tell their stories of hopelessness and despair and heartache in hopes of some shred of pity. Their careless acts are hopefully justified by what has been done to them. Their lack of self-worth is accredited to what they once did.

Fortune-tellers are the same. The people who only long for the future say “when (insert life event) happens, oh that’ll be it!” or “when I have (insert useless object), I’ll be able to really live life!” When I hear this kind of thinking, I can’t help but wonder who promised them a tomorrow. A promised tomorrow would be great- I’d sure love one. But it doesn’t work like that. Tomorrow is not a promise. It’s something to hope for, something to prepare for, something to dream for.

Recently, I had a meeting with my school counselor. I was asked a series of questions regarding college and careers and whatever else I might like to do in the future. This kind of planning is important of course, but it would be silly to assume that this thinking hasn’t already been on the forefront of my mind,that this thinking hasn’t already kept me up at night once or twice. Everyone I meet- my parents, teachers, pastor, friends, acquaintances, the homeless man outside of a local coffee shop, the people I met once at a gathering- all want to know one thing: What will you do?

What about “What am I doing?” What about making today count, making this moment, right now as these words pass through you, mean something. Texting and MySpace and Facebook have killed the moment. I go to a show and see a sea of people glued to cell phones sending messages to their friends. Cameras take pictures only to post on the internet to prove importance. A friend comes over and is drawn right to the computer to log onto Facebook and chat and catch up on the latest with their friends.

What happened to human interaction? What happened to living in the moment? I believe in today because it is the only constant we ever have. It is our responsibility to cease the day by leaving the mind’s preoccupations aside and embracing the people and experiences that are waiting to push their way into our lives. It is our responsibility to refuse an attitude of apathy, complacency, and procrastination and embrace one of action, commitment, and persistence. It is our responsibility to let go of the weights of regret, grudge holding, and excess nostalgia and embrace the freedom of now. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best, “So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the path of each man’s genius contracts itself to a very few hours.”