Beginning of the End

Yesterday morning I walked out of my apartment into the chilly winds of my last first day of undergraduate classes. I suffered my last syllabus shock symptoms and filled out my planner with assignments and test dates for the last time.

I wrote “graduation” in all caps across a date in May.

They call it “senioritis”—that inability to focus, that apathy, that odd disease that infects us all toward the end and makes us skip class and let our grades slip… It feels like a disease. Like something is inhibiting my ability to do my homework. I catch myself thinking, “This is important. I should read this textbook.” And then, the next thing I know, a whole minute has passed—or five—and I haven’t read a word.

It’s not a disease. Not really. It’s a culture.

It’s a mindset of looking forward to the next big adventure, of constantly waiting for the plot of my life to really get going. To the end—and the new beginning. It tells me to disregard the events of today, to abandon in equal measure the responsibilities and the joys of this moment. It whispers lies—that my next place will be better, that my next responsibilities will be grander, that my next joys will be greater. Why bother finishing where I am if the next journey I take will outshine this one anyway?

When Will My Life Begin

I shouldn’t be surprised by now. I felt this during the last week of my summer internship and before that, during finals. I’ve felt this shift of focus in the months leading up to every move I’ve ever made, this odd conviction that the next thing will be inherently better—so much better that none of this will ever matter again.

And it’s simply not true.

Today, right here, right now, as I breathe in and breathe out, my life is happening. My life is happening in the jazzy piano chords winding out of my speakers. It’s happening now, here, under the blanket my mother crocheted, in the tap of the keys and the heat of my laptop. This is life. This is living. It’s not a grand adventure, maybe, by comparison, but it’s mine, and it’s beautiful, I’m living it.

My life isn’t tomorrow. It isn’t next month or next year. It isn’t my next job. It isn’t my next move.

My life is now.

So for today, I’ll let the future lie. I’ll live where I am. I’ll smile at the people I pass, listen to their answers when I ask “How are you?” I’ll immerse myself in the moment—in the studying, and the laughing, and the mishaps in the kitchen.

It’s the beginning of the end. But, don’t you know, the beginning is its own moment.

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