“Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” -Steve Jobs, 2005 <3
So many nights I have lifted my pen, then dropped it. Words aren’t enough to describe this feeling. It’s an assortment of elation and nostalgia...it’s me preparing to see the real world in a few hundred days, yet not being able to let go of the way things used to be. The way I wonder how things stayed the same so long.
Only fake excitement through greetings with people I grew into my skin with, graduation parties of my presumed “crushes” over a few too many emoticons over Google Buzz, and the sight of toddlers I used to make crazy faces at in the hallway as walking, talking beings all affirm one thing: the world moves on, with or without you. Winds are blowing. Mom’s hair is greying, and the pet cat you so fondly buried in your backyard at age ten is still decaying. You are a speck of dust in the universe, and whether or not you are on the Earth or buried within it, it is moving.
Sometimes I lie awake in bed rubbing my eyes, watching galaxies and fireworks and thinking of a world without me. We truly overestimate our importance in this floating rock. And then it ensues. “If I died, x, y and z would just never be the same anymore.” And maybe I’m right. But with time, all wounds heal. Within months to years, x, y and z will be sitting on a patio watching the stars and laughing about the time you played Disco Dancer in the graduating class’ limo, only to get the aux cable brutally snatched from your hands. Maybe they’ll never fully get over it, but they’ll learn. After all, what choice do they have?
Although I don’t consider myself a sadist of any sorts, I am a realist. So I’m going to tell you like it is: you’re going to die someday, so stop waiting for SOMEDAY. Too many times I have thought to make a sketch for a friend, bake caramelita bars for my neighbors, or finally get around to reading Malala’s autobiography (which, admittedly, has been sitting on my bookshelf for over 3 months now) and just “didn’t find time.”
I’m not, by any means, telling you not to prioritize. If you’ve got a lab to complete, do so. But don’t waste time, because it’s all limited. Don’t count your days, make your days count. Stop stalking Kylie Jenner on Instagram and dance on your dining table. There are memories to be made, laughs to be heard, and theories to be discussed. You really have the tools to alter your destiny...Harvard or ACC, SRK or Johnny Lever, Creme Brulee or McDonald’s apple pies...it comes down to two things: what you want, and how hard you worked for it. Everything else is secondary.
You can’t feel it one little bit, but your skin is augmenting and making space for your soul (and that chocolate chip cookie). Your neighbor who always sends you gift baskets on your birthday is lessening her breaths in a hospital bed, regardless of whether or not you wrote that thank you note. The point here is that the world is moving and changing, and you need to stop time and BREATHE. Time will pass, and you cannot stop it. You can only accept its passage and bloom.
(Whenever I find myself in a funk in my life, I pray and then sit to watch my guru and hero Steve Jobs give his commencement at Harvard in 2005. I’ve practically memorized it, and I always try to digest every word, as it truly humbles me. I am pasting the link here in hopes that it does the same for you. This is a part of me, for you.)