During graduation season we are collectively subjected to an endless, mindnumbing stream of clichés about “marching into the future.” I have been even more tired of inspirational quotes. Just hearing the names of Ralph Waldo Emerson, T.S. Eliot or Henry David Thoreau gives me an involuntary facial tic. They are always talking about the future and how to accomplish success using pithy one-liners that seem so easy to follow.
However, they aren’t the only ones constantly talking about the future. Everyone I bump into seems to be talking about the future – teachers, friends, counselors, principals, parents. Every senior in America is thinking about the future. Recently, I was talking to my dad about the future (how excited I was), but I was a little surprised by his reply: “Johnny, don’t get so caught up in the future that you forget about enjoying the here and now, ‘cause one day you’ll regret it.” (That isn’t exactly what he said, because, naturally, I wasn’t paying real close attention, but you get the idea.)
But as I near the end of my high school career, I am beginning to realize what he was talking about. If you are constantly looking forward, you will overlook the present, and when you look back, you will regret not making the most of the time you had. And high school is the last phase in our life in which we are pretty much taken care of, and it is going to be over soon enough. So why not enjoy it while it lasts? I mean, you can still kind of blame your mistakes on your parents.
So, although graduation is a time when we naturally look to the future, let’s not forget the here and now. And let’s not forget to enjoy the here and now as we “march into the future.” And, as Zach Braff says in “Garden State,” “Good luck exploring the infinite abyss.”
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