The sheer present

January 29th, 2015


Like any other student, I have struggled with balance. I used to be completely consumed by the next homework assignment, being late for work, making it to practice on time and hanging out with friends, that I often neglected what lied before my very eyes – the present.


Recently, a friend asked me a question that caused me to think about how and why I live the way I do: “What is your personal philosophy?”


Although I struggle with philosophical thoughts in class, I did not have any trouble answering this. I live for the moment, for the sheer present and for the impulsive actions that bring adrenaline forthright and center.


Material goods and technologies have encapsulated the millennial generation, and it is extraordinarily easy to forget where one is at any given instant. Eyes wander to social media posts from the night before, stress levels rise as homework assignments pile up and people allow life’s smallest obstacles to reach the highest points of Mount Everest.


Here’s a little secret: The future does not exist, for it is simply a succession of the “now’s.”


A few years ago, a woman by the name of Elle Ingalls introduced me to her course on “pressure-free living,” where I was challenged to practice tactics that would help me “stress-less.” She used the example of the double yellow line on a road, telling me to never allow myself to cross over that line. This image has allowed me to bring myself back down to earth during times when I am pulled against gravity from various loads of irrelevant stresses.


My mentality did not change overnight, though. It is thoroughly impossible to open one’s brain, sift through it and pick out the things one does not wish to worry about. Each day’s goal quickly became to turn down my inner nagging voice like a knob on a vintage radio so I could truly live for the moment.


Throughout the course of each day, I am challenged by teammates and friends to be fully present. Although sometimes indirect, I find myself wanting to truly see and hear those around me rather than worry about what’s going to happen later that night, the next day or even the rest of my life. Oddly enough, the rest of my life used to scarily haunt me.


The thought of the future is engulfing, and remembering the past may be exhausting. So, in the words of Robert Frost, “Be happy, happy, happy, and seize the day of pleasure.” Neglect the things that weigh you down and let the moment propel you one step at a time.


Since the pressure-free living course, I have promised myself to live freely and for the moment. Sure, impulsiveness isn’t always the best answer. Yet, I have found that having my heart and head where my body is at all times is extremely rewarding.


The present is unavoidable. So, why not utilize it in a way that benefits rather than damages?


By living in the moment, one is able to share one’s gifts in the best way possible. Last year, I was moved by a group of friends on the track team to fully embrace this philosophy. With their help, I found it easier to give my whole self in everything I did. By doing so, my eyes delved into an oasis of self-liberation and unmatched happiness.


Each and every minute, I am inspired to embrace the smallest things. From flaming sunsets to an unmopped living room floor after a crowded party on Warrensville, it all matters. Perspective is indispensably relevant.


When discussing how to live each day Anne Lamott, creative writer, urges to “take it bird by bird.” Let be and let live so that others may follow; the present is a gift and it deserves to be shared. to “take it bird by bird.” Let be and let live so that others may follow; the present is a gift and it deserves to be shared.