Over an incredibly busy week of midterms and holiday preparation here at Cal Poly, I kept thinking of the phrase “you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” In some cases, it could apply to studying or hard work, not realizing that it was easy until it got harder. In other cases, it can apply to people, or a comfort zone that we got used to being a part of until suddenly, we were no longer in it. With that phrase comes the idea that maybe we tend to be a little ignorant, or possibly naive, to what we have or how easy it can be to lose it. Sometimes though, I’m not so sure I agree with that phrase— what if we know what what we’ve got and we’re just holding on to the hope that it doesn’t have to change just yet?
During my senior year of high school, I remember people talking about how badly they wanted to get of our town and go see new places, experience new things. As a teenager, I could see where they were coming from— we were young and getting ready to graduate high school, college and wherever we’re at right now is the chance to go do all the things we will not have the chance to do later on. After the Class of 2016 split across the country and throughout the world in August/September, I already knew in my heart that Folsom was my home for 18 years for a reason… That place made
me who I am and as great as it is to get on to where we’re all headed next, it does take a moment to appreciate where we came from. Folsom was a beautiful place to grow up in and I met some of the most amazing people that I hope I never lose touch with. I knew exactly what I had before I left there ands I knew what I was about to spend the next two months missing.
I guess it’s lucky for me that I’ve got an entire week off for Thanksgiving. I will be home tomorrow.
I’m the kind of person who has a hard time letting go of the things that I care about, such as holiday traditions or the need to hug my mom at least five times before I actually go to bed. Coming here to San Luis Obispo meant that I had to learn to let things go pretty quickly, or get used to missing them instead. I am still far from adjusted to life here, but the new territory came with new traditions. From getting up in the morning after one of my roommates five alarms went off to walking past my room just to see what new things were written or drawn on the whiteboard we put up on the wall next to our door, I found new things to look forward to. Thinking back to the idea of not really knowing what we’ve got until it’s gone, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not that we don’t know— that’s not it at all.
We know what we’ve got before it’s gone, it’s just that we get used to how things are and aren’t quite ready for it to be over once time runs out.
I guess that’s where carpe diem comes into play, or even the idea of only living once; we’ve got to make use of the moments that we have. “Nothing is ever guaranteed,” that’s what my dad used to always tell my brothers and I. I think that a lot of us get so caught up in the “what’
s next” or everything that we’re busy doing that we forget that this is when we’re supposed to be living right now. Even though I know that I’m still going to be in school for the next few years, possibly more, I can’t be worrying too much about setting myself up for the future and forget to pay attention to where I currently am in my life.
Because if I were to consider this exact moment to be my “right now” I would remember that I’m getting ready to go home.
And I am incredibly excited.
I haven’t seen my best friends in over two months and even though I knew exactly what I was going to be missing once they left, I can’t wait to be back in the same town as all my favorite people for just a little while. I get to sleep in my own bed, in the room that my mom has turned into her office, and I get to be back in my hometown for just a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, Cal Poly is a beautiful place to me and I’m probably going to miss all the people I’ve come to appreciate here too.
But as Dorothy said, there’s no place like home. And I can’t wait to be back.
So here’s to a little carpe diem and making the most of where we’re at right now, as soon enough the present will become the past and we’ll run out of time before we remember to live. Maybe sometimes it isn’t easy to pay enough attention and truly appreciate what we’ve got before it’s gone, but there are so many things in this life that are worth that effort. As time goes on, we’re going to change and so will the people and the life surrounding us. Yet as that change keeps going and we keep on living, it helps to remember how we got there in the first place. To carpe diem and remember to live.