The Starting Line

December 1, 2016

“You can choose to blame your circumstances on fate or bad luck or bad choices, or you

can fight back. Things aren’t always going to be fair in the real world. That’s just the way it is,

but for the most part, you get what you give. The rest of your life is being shaped right

now—with the dreams you chase, the choices you make, and the person you decide to be. The

rest of your life is a long time. And the rest of your life starts right now.”

~Keith Scott, One Tree Hill

The future—it’s what we’ve been looking forward to ever since we could first remember,

and it’s what we’ll keep looking to even at our last moments. Hope for the future is often what

drives us, pushes and inspires us to get through even the darkest of days. We are living in a

society that has instilled us with mindsets that always focus and prepare for the future. What do

you want to be when you grow up? Where do you want to go to college? How are you going to

pay for college? Are you even going to go to college? What’s your dream job? Where do you see

yourself in ten, twenty years? Are you going to buy the new iPhone? Are you going to get a new

60” HD flat screen for Christmas? Are you going to get another sports car?

If you take a step back and allow yourself to actually think about this for a minute, it’s

crazy and a bit insane. We’ve become robots programmed into a cycle of this-will- make-my-

future-better and I-must- have-the- next-new- thing sadly, without really realizing it. I am

definitely a major victim of this myself—college and scholarships, yikes—and our entire nation

has been forced to consider our future lately specifically due to the elections. Now I’m not much

for politics, so I won’t spend too long on the election, but in concern for the future, we should

focus heavily on what we can and need to do at the current hour and second.

Turning back on my quote, One Tree Hill has a special place in my heart not because it’s

just another show to binge watch on Netflix, but because it offers up so many true and deep

insights to life. I chose this quote in particular because it is something that I really need to

consider more lately. I have blamed my current circumstances on myself, and I have had a

difficult time coping with them. The past two weeks have been the worst so far this semester. I

somehow ended up in this tangled mess of a fight with my roommate basically because I hadn’t

been sharing how alone and depressed I was feeling. Everyone was going home to see their

families or had at least once earlier in the semester, and I wasn’t going to see my family until

three more weeks, the first time in four months. I miss being able to go home at the end of a

rough day to my mom and being comforted by her hug. I haven’t found anyone here that can fill

in that void, someone that I feel I can share everything with. I kept telling myself not to pity

myself because I had chosen to go here, plus there are other people, like foreign exchange

students, that go an entire year without seeing their family. I didn’t share how I was feeling

because I didn’t want to let in pity from myself, let alone others.

Shortly following our huge roommate fiasco, I was projected straight out of a

relationship. It sounds like your typical, stupid, high school relationship (it only lasted for a bit

over a week), but my heart was completely shattered. For the first time in a long time, I had

finally met a guy that I truly liked. It felt different with him, like I was meant to find him, and

just being with him made my heart happy. I’d let down my guard that I had locked around my

heart, scared and vulnerable but feeling safe with him. Reading that text from him (yes,

completely high-school like) destroyed me. It was karma, fate, bad luck, whatever you want to

call it; I felt like my feelings, biggest fear, and vulnerability had been played with and betrayed.

On top of it all, I had cancelled my plans with my friends to spend thanksgiving with my

boyfriend, which now no longer existed. I spent the break and Thanksgiving Day on campus,


Things aren’t always going to be fair in the real world. Whether it’s the results of an

awful election or a brutal heartbreak, life sucks. Sometimes. But it’s what we do when life gives

you suck that shapes us into the people that we are today. “The rest of your life is being shaped

right now—with the dreams you chase, the choices you make, and the person you decide to be.”

Throughout the past week, I have found this to be so incredibly true, and it’s something that we

all urgently need to realize. No, we can’t go back and change who won the presidential election

or change the boy’s mind. We can’t continue to live lives worrying about and hoping for a better

future when we aren’t doing anything right now. Right now is the location that we need to give

our heart and souls to—to actually fight for what we believe in, to make choices that follow what

our hearts and minds tell us, to have confidence to share our thoughts with others, to be grateful

for everything that we currently have instead of always looking for more, and to focus on loving

ourselves and others unconditionally.

It’s not just your typical cliché “live for right now” motto, but a desperate outcry for

everyone to take action for the future by living and acting effectively in the present. I’m not

saying to lose sight of the future but rather to not let it control how you live. The future will

always be there, but you won’t. We all want what’s best for us and tend to get discouraged when

we have to face the bad, but right now is an opportunity to fight to be the person you want to be.

We all are brave in our own ways. With every new day, we are offered to be brave in a whole

new way, by living fully in the present.