The Trouble With Expiration Dates

*Originally ran July 29, 2015*

Currently I am in that awkward stage in between graduating from high school last month and entering college next month. I’m not a high school student anymore, but I’m also not quite a college kid yet either. Everything around me is the same. I have the same friends, we hang out at the same spots, I work at the same place, and I live in the same house. Yet for some reason I’m looking at everything differently. I’m viewing all of my surroundings with a big fat expiration date that says September 12th (the day I move in for college).  This has been going on for a while. I can’t look at my friends without thinking, “I won’t see you every day like this next month” and I can’t enjoy the beach without thinking, “I won’t be able to visit here whenever I want next month”. But today it hit me that I have to stop thinking like this. It’s like looking at fresh, delicious strawberries and thinking, “because you expire next week, I can’t enjoy you now.” That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? So now I’m viewing life like a bowl of strawberries. I’m going to appreciate everything around me and love every second I spend with my friends and family, because I don’t want to waste any time fretting over a bowl of strawberries that hasn’t expired yet.

      It’s so easy to live in the future. Sometimes we just get so wrapped up in everything that’s coming. We stress over dates, and dead lines, and obligations, and expiration dates. But the thing is, it’s all going to come eventually. Eventually tomorrow turns into today and today turns into yesterday. The obligation will pass, you’ll meet your deadline, and you’ll realize the things you thought would “expire” maybe won’t. It’s all going to come at one point or another. So why waste now thinking about it? Face the problem when it reaches you. Don’t bring the problem to you sooner, because the only thing that will come out of that is unnecessary stress.

      So take a deep breath. In and out. I know it seems like a simple thing to do, but sometimes we forget to just take one moment to breathe. At prom, my friend told me to stop and close my eyes. He said later to do the same thing the last time I walk out of high school and then at graduation and so on. It just shows you how quickly time passes. I closed my eyes one second while in a gown with lights flashing around me and when I opened them I was standing in a cap and gown with a diploma in my hand. But this made me appreciate everything around me more. In the midst of our very busy lives, we just need to remember to stop sometimes and simply breathe. In and out.

~Madelynne Catherine

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