Amanda Bilko, Contributing Writer
I was taught at the tender age of 13 that it was never too early to start preparing for my future. Ever since then, my life has revolved around plans, back-up plans and contingency plans. One might say I planned my way right out of living. I carried the burden of absolute control – in thought and deed – with me to college, where the first thing I tried to do was get MCAT prerequisites out of the way. My first act of rebellion was a silly little thing, barely rebellious, but impulsive in its way: I added a history major to my biology major. I couldn’t deny the plan, and my parents’ expectations, so I added a little bit of me, of what I wanted to do, instead.
I don’t want to write an autobiography. (In truth, I tend to find such a thing tedious.) Instead, I hope that my example will serve to highlight the importance of something that I have only recently learned to value: spontaneity. I don’t mean the kind of spontaneous action that leads to late-night hair-dying sessions (which certainly have their place) or the whimsical decisions that can lead to sudden trips to New York City to do “stuff” without checking timetables and open hours (which I will never in good conscience condone).
Rather, spontaneity, the kind which I had so thoroughly written out of my life, is something that lets you enjoy a moment freely, with abandon: that dash of spice which adds a little bit of color to that too-often bland dish called “life.” For me, spontaneity almost always meant more work, more pain and more fear, but was always rewarded by more growth, more joy and more laughter.
As we get older, and the fateful day of graduation marches ever closer (unless you’re more like me: just dramatic enough to feel like your life was over the moment you got back from Rome), it has become more important than ever before to remember the value of impulse. It’s easier than ever to lose yourself in fear for the future, on questions of grad school, jobs and maintaining friendships that span the country itself. We’ve been blessed, living in this little pocket where everything is simpler (and school life is what we know, have known for our entire lives).
This semester, I’ve finally attempted to embrace the spontaneous. I’m balancing out my life. I go out for late-night meals at IHOP and Steak ‘n Shake, I make snap decisions to go to concerts, I enjoy unexpected trips for pizza, and I talk about why I don’t understand college football at a random bar. I’ve been trying to have fun in a way that I never really made the time for before now. And it’s sort of a sad truth that I was so caught up in my plans for the future that I forgot about the present. But it is never too late to embrace the little moments God gives us, the gifts that gleam like diamonds in the memory of our lives. And so I invite everyone to just have some fun over these next few weeks, and don’t worry overmuch about the future, for it will come in good time, whereas now – now is a fleeting moment to seize.