In the first creative writing class I took at John Carroll, my final project was given the same title as this column. The assignment was to write a memoir, and although I wrote about a very pivotal time in my life, I’m not sure I’d write about it again.
What once was will forever be a part of our lives, and it is so valuable to learn from the events that twist and morph our minds. There may be times when we wish to open the caps of our skulls and spool around, finding old memories that once caused us pain and taking them out so they cannot touch us any longer.
Hold onto those memories.
The beauty of the individual comes from personal experience. It isn’t about where home is or what school is attended, but the overwhelmingly consuming moments that dwarf each of us into becoming all that we are.
Although I argue each of us is the key production manager of our own lives, there are other contributions to personal development.
In many classes and conversations, the topics of peer groups, family life and social settings are abundant. For example, the adolescent psychology class I am currently enrolled in discusses the physical and emotional growth of young individuals; much of what my classmates and I have learned about adolescence includes the importance of one’s placement in society. This involves the neighborhood one is raised in, school one attended, friend groups, team affiliations, etc.
The facts say an individual’s development is not all about personal gumption and drive, but they do support that the moments each of us partake in, no matter where or when, contribute to who we are and what we will become.
In 2013, I was a sophomore trying to get my fix on any and all things rapid. I was constantly on the go, looking for experiences that would help create a name for myself. After a ten-day excursion to Honduras the summer before, it was my intention to grasp all of life’s lessons as a 19-year-old undergraduate.
Joke’s on me; you don’t figure out life at 19.
I got involved with a lot of things, including service, babysitting, on campus event-planning committees and I started living somewhere most people have forgotten all about: I moved to the present.
With each of the things I involved myself with, I found it easy to get lost in whatever had to happen next. It’s natural for the mind to wander down the paths screaming, “You’ve got to get this done!” But it was my intention not to let life’s crazed schedule consume my own sanity.
I began making lists and actually following them. With each task I had a plan, and when it was time to get whatever needed to be done finished, I made sure to be fully present.
With each moment, there is utmost potential to do something great – even if it’s greatly minute. I took this philosophy to heart, because by living second by second it became easier to be grateful for the little things.
Gratitude stemmed from seeing clearly, and clarity came from keeping my eyes directed on exactly what I was doing at the time. Although it is often difficult, I try to remember the importance of giving someone or something the attention deserved. It’s easy to be grateful for the extra hour of sleep, an “A” on a test or a workout done right, but it’s equally easy to forget the beauty of each of these things.
Stay focused; take control of your life, live for the moment and express gratitude. These are the most important lessons I’ve learned at John Carroll thus far. But, who knows, maybe what comes next will withhold something more.