When we were young, all of us were instructed to look both ways before crossing a street. As adults, we continue to do this because it’s just common sense. If you don’t look both ways before crossing, you increase the risk of getting hit by a car… and that’s no fun (or so I’ve heard).
Well, today I would like to make a suggestion. Just like we should always stop and look both ways before crossing the street, it is also wise sometimes to stop and look both ways when you reach certain points in life.
What do I mean by that? Do I mean that on certain occasions (graduations, weddings, etc.), you should just randomly stop and turn your head left and then right (or right and then left, if that’s more your style)? No, because that would be weird. I’m not talking literal stopping and looking here. What I mean is that, sometimes we reach certain points in life when you need to look to the past and the future before moving on with life.
It may seem like I’m writing philosophical nonsense, and I’m in no way denying that possibility, but let me explain. I have reached the end of another semester at college. This past semester has been… interesting. My natural instinct is to say that it has been the worst. Then again, I call everything and everyone the worst, so why would this be any different?
The truth is that this semester has been a rough one–not necessarily academically (though I did have one class that I hated with a fiery intensity hotter than a thousand blazing suns), but definitely in all other possible aspects. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details, but I will say this: I don’t think I have ever felt more ready to put a semester behind me.
Now I find myself at somewhat of a crossroads. I have gotten through this difficult point of my life. Are my troubles over? Definitely not. But I have stuff to look forward to–a study abroad in Europe, time with the family, and great living plans for next school year–and that’s what has gotten me through so much. I have a couple of months before all these exciting things happen, though. I see these two months as a rare opportunity to reflect on my past while looking forward to the future… in other words, it’s my chance to look both ways, so to speak.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Those are not only the first words from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities but also the perfect description of this past semester. I have experienced both success and disappointment, friendships strengthened and friendships weakened, surprises both pleasant and unpleasant. I tried to fix my problems but felt I made things worse more often than not. I have laughed, I have cried, I have made mistakes. Sometimes I wanted to have meltdowns similar to the one below, minus the mascara.
To be honest, like Liz Lemon, there were times where I wasn’t sure if I could take it anymore: “it” in this case being life in general.
Yet I survived. I kept moving forward and it was worth it in the end. It might not have been the best time of life, but at least it’s done. And the best part about experiencing hard times is that feeling of relief you get once it’s all behind you.
A part of me felt like, if I could just reach the end of the semester, everything would be great. This of course isn’t true. You can’t just go through life waiting for that time where all will be perfectly fine, because it just won’t happen. You could think, “Once I graduate, I’ll be happy,” or “I just need to get married, and then all my troubles will be over,” but the fact is that we’re always going to have problems. Having problems is just a part of life.
Even though all my problems haven’t magically ended with this past semester, I can take what I have learned from this past semester and apply it as I move forward in life. Then I can keep in mind where I want to be in the future and apply that as well. Therefore, I am taking a look in both directions–past and future–before moving forward in this crazy road they call life.