Living for Today

John - Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan
Entered on March 18, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

When I was four, Santa sent me a frog in the mail. I named the frog Fred, put him in a tank, and watched him for several minutes. Then Fred got boring. And that was the end of our relationship.

Today, Fred 12 is years old. He’s an old frog now. But looking back on his life, he’s accomplished little. All day he sits in his small little tank. And every few days, someone feeds him. It is a sad life Fred lives.

Also when I was four, a new, exciting thing happened in my life. I started going to school. During my first grade conferences, my teacher asked my mom, “Does John like school?” My mom had to answer that no, it wasn’t exactly my favorite activity. School meant the end of carelessness, the end of fun, the beginning of my workaholic American life.

Every day for the past 12 years I have woken up at the crack of dawn and climbed behind a desk in a classroom. I sit behind that desk for seven hours a day. For 280 days a year. 23,520 hours of my life have been spent there.

Sometime I can’t help feel like Fred. And I’m sure that numerous other Americans, stuffed in their cubicles and shoved behind desks, feel the same way.

I’m not saying that my life is all boring, because, unlike Fred, I have the opportunity to jump out of my tank everyday at 3:05, every weekend and every delicious, delicious summer break. And I’m not saying that I don’t like school. I’ve had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people here. And that whole learning thing is great, too. But sometimes I just feel that the fishbowl to life ratio is way too high.

I believe that you should live for today. We spend all our time in high school preparing for the life ahead of us, but as we are doing this, our current life is passing us by.

On numerous occasions in my life, I have woken up, gone to school, done homework and gone to bed. Period. That’s not how a human being is supposed to live. People forget that this is the only life they’ll have, and they should enjoy it.

It seems that people are always preparing for what’s going to come next — a high school student prepares for college, a college student for their job, a working person for retirement.

I try not to get into that routine. Everyday I try to do something fun, I try to spend more time with friends, I try to not get stressed out, and I try to put school into perspective. School, grades, homework — they’re really not that important in the long run.

And one day, I plan on freeing Fred. And although he’ll probably destroy the native ecosystem in a local lake and die in the process, by God, he’ll have had a day of adventure.