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Dangers of Time

With my father constantly reminding me about saving money and planning for a career instead of a job, I’ve gone through life with low discount rates. For anyone who hasn’t studied sociology before, that basically means that I didn’t want the benefits of my hard work upfront, rather, I wanted to let them grow before reaping the greater reward. I was an 18-year-old college student passing up on parties, trips, and concerts in order to study and maintain a part-time job with the mindset that these little sacrifices would ultimately benefit me in the long run. In reality, I was just perpetuating my antisocial nature, but let’s make it philosophical.

The STEM half of me wants to be carried into the future based on empirical evidence with sources cited in MLA format. Taking this attitude into my Existentialism in Film class was like mixing oil and water. It was the most out-there course I’ve ever taken in college; it was purely discussion-based and encouraged claims that lacked any trace of verifiable proof, which contradicted everything this part of me stood for. However, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences because it opened my mind to new interpretations of myself and others. For instance, a moment that resonated with me was when Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity argued against sacrificing the present for the future, claiming that it distorts our relationships to time, each other, and ourselves. This was one of many contributing factors that prompted a much needed time of reflection. What ensued was the coaxing of the liberal arts (specifically social sciences) half of me to surface. It’s tasked with imagining an alternate history by playing the “What If” game with all of my life decisions, which entails hypothesizing outcomes for scenarios in which I had followed a different path.

At the start of my junior year, I finally recognized that I spent every waking moment reflecting on the past and planning for the future, failing to ever live in the present. And that was my downfall; I succumbed to the burden of self-induced expectations by following the rules when there were none. I was using my past and my future to guide my present decisions, but when you don’t know what would have been or what lies ahead, how can you know what to do now? Life became a guessing game; it was all uncertainty and no reassurance, and not knowing where I stood was terrifying. I felt like I wasn’t in control of my own life, which is mind-blowing because this all started with just that: me wanting to control my life.

My call to action is simple: just live. As cliché as it is, yesterday is history and tomorrow is not promised. Take the time to enjoy what you have while you have it, and remember that “overthought themselves to death” isn’t an admirable way to go out.

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