As of five days ago, I am officially a college grad! I spent the last few months of school counting down the days until graduation. The “real world” loomed large and exciting, a luring brunch buffet of opportunity. I had spent the entire semester working on my thesis, studying for finals, and I had grown tired of the college social scene. The excitement for the next chapter of my life drove me into a frenzied hurry to the finish line -no matter how uncertain and vague the impending path appeared.
Now that I am back at home, the exhilaration has yet to fade, however, returning to Colorado with high hopes has illuminated one of my biggest faults. That fault being that I rarely relish the moment. This inability to exist in the moment is the late cousin of another dictating trait of mine, “drive”. I never fully enjoy any one moment, as I seek out aspects that can always be better. My optimistic face understands these two familial traits as my innate strive for success and my inability to settle for nothing less than the best. My pessimistic face, however, rears it’s ugly head and understands these traits as a fault, a failure to delight in life’s small gifts. I guess it’s not only my flaw, but human nature’s as a whole. After all, both Joni Mitchell and the Counting Crows cashed in with the famous lyric, “don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” Since the song hit in the 70’s, that lyric has universally rung true and sums up my tenacious yet fast paced manner in which I accomplish things. I am a slave to my schedule with an addiction to productivity; I meet the deadline without looking up. This way of living has served me well, having graduated with departmental honors, Phi Beta Kappa, and magna cum laude. But as I look at the blueprints to my future, I need to find a happier medium, one that allows me to exploit the positive face of my traits, while simultaneously letting some of my more “relaxed” traits shine through. Now that the stress of finals has subsided and reality has (not so gracefully) waltzed in, I’ve realized that I didn’t quite know what I had until now, when it’s gone. I was blessed with an amazing education that opened my mind to new views and a newfound love of learning, I was fortunate enough to have created my own family of friends that will always remain true, and through this experience I’ve learned a lot about myself. I don’t long for added collegiate years, but rather a new pair of lenses that allow me to count my blessings in the moment rather than after they happen. When walking down a new street we often notice the tree on our right, the gap in the cement that almost makes us trip, or the hand panted pots that line the entryway to someone’s home. It’s over time, that we forget what it was like to not be able to read or ride a bike. As I layout my cards and decide the direction of my next step, I hope to make a conscious effort to unearth the little delights, to breathe, and slowly sip my coffee.