Carpe diem

Graduation Day has finally arrived. A chapter in your life has ended. Now it’s time for a new adventure, hopefully bigger and better. Just make sure that you don’t wish your life away.

Graduation Day has finally arrived. A chapter in your life has ended. Now it’s time for a new adventure, hopefully bigger and better. Just make sure that you don’t wish your life away.

Some can hardly wait to get started with the rest of their lives. They have few regrets and want to put PSU behind for good.

Yet, other people find it difficult to move on from a place where they’ve spent years going to and from class. It’s easy to feel nostalgic, especially when you see tour groups of incoming freshman clumped in the hallway of the Smith Memorial Student Union or walking around campus with a tourist’s expression of novelty stretched across their faces.

They can hardly wait to start school in the fall. Soon, they’ll be looking forward to graduation. Then, before they know it, they’ll be the ones who are graduating.

From a young age, our culture and society teaches us to look forward to milestone events rather than look for the enjoyment from every moment.

As children we spent our days saying that we could hardly wait for Christmas or our birthday. As children, we couldn’t wait until we were old enough to go to middle school, where we would have more freedom. Then, we couldn’t wait until we could go to high school so we could drive and be closer to finishing school. In high school, we couldn’t wait until college, where the real learning and/or parties happen. Then we couldn’t wait until it’s over.

Now, it’s over. Some of us who aren’t ready to settle down into the monotony of a regular nine-to-five career will move on to grad school. But as milestones to look forward to become scarcer and scarcer, we instead drag ourselves through work until we can get to the bar where we can drink ourselves into believing we’re satisfied with our lives.

It’s easy for someone to quote Horace at you, saying, “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” (“Seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow”). It’s more difficult for them to tell you how.

Since college is an investment not for immediate gratification, but rather for long-term advancement, most students aren’t used to seizing the day, unless they’re the rare person who enjoys every single lecture and homework assignment. If you are, that’s great. You’ve captured the essence of how to enjoy every moment. If you’re not, now is the time to fulfill your passions.

Some people refuse a mundane existence. Their innate curiosity leads them from one adventure to another. They’re life is full of uncertainty and unpredictability, but they’re rarely bored. Instead of talking about past experiences or something they’re looking forward to, they’re telling you about how they’re seizing the day.
Sometimes all it takes is a shift in perception to be grateful for the things that you already have—friends, family, education, hobbies, etc.

Most times it’s shedding the things that make you unhappy. Fox News reports that 35 percent of Americans take antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills or sleeping aids. That percentage is greater than in any other country.

There are several different explanations for why our percentage is so high. One of them is that most Americans are unhappy with their lives. The more they age, the less they feel that they have to look forward to. Americans strive to achieve the dream of financial and marital stability, often settling for less than they desire because they feel it’s the best they can acquire.

The economic recession is a good indicator that stability is nothing but an illusion. We never know what tomorrow will bring; we can only guess.

Our European peers who value travel over material wealth live longer than us Americans. They know that possessions don’t outweigh invaluable experiences.

Everyone has his or her own idea of the perfect life. For some people that’s building shelters for impoverished children in Africa. For other people, it’s traveling the world. Others just want to raise a happy family. Whatever your passion is, don’t settle for less. Follow your heart.