Yep. That would be my great grandma and me. My great grandma passed away a week after her 100th birthday. She lived her life to its absolute fullest. I still remember the farm she continued to tend to even into her 80s.
My mom used to always tell me, “Jen, don’t wish away your life.” This phrase would normally follow a series of complaints after a bad day I was having, or the sheer fact that it was Monday, and I wanted it to be Friday. I didn’t quite learn to appreciate the importance of that phrase until long into my college days. For as long as I can remember I have always faced life head on. “Yes ma’am I can handle that.” “Yes Sir, I can write a 300-page memo in two hours.” “Sure, I can work an additional 24 hours.” Joking aside, I rarely had a minute to smell the flowers, as cliché as that sounds.
Not much has changed frankly as far as being incredibly busy goes. I’m a second-semester law student, volunteer, legal intern, wife, sister, daughter, step-daughter; you name it. That is just who I am. But I approach life differently now than I did when I was younger. Of course, that comes with just growing up. Law school has given me this amazing opportunity to push my self to the limits, learn new intricacies about the law and challenge myself everyday. However, you don’t need law school to learn something new everyday. I am constantly learning, constantly growing, constantly loving. I’m at home in this type of environment. I’m comfortable here in Chicago because I took my time. I didn’t rush into anything. That to me was key. No rushing. Life is too short to do that. I’ve learned to embrace life and all of it it’s ups and downs. While I look forward to certain things happening in my life (darn impatience!); I always try to heed my mom’s advice to never wish for it to get here faster. It’s important to live each moment, to really feel the wind on your face, to be present in whatever it is you’re doing and not wishing you were somewhere else.
So, where does time go you ask? There are 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day (of which, on average, 8 of those hours you use to sleep), and 1,440 minutes in a day. Our days pass by so quickly; the sun rises and it sets. All those occasions you spent months wishing would be here are gone in the blink of the eye. Then, all that’s left are the memories and the photographs.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the details, the anticipation, the longing for the days free of working or school; but, to constantly wish for life to speed up just to get to a particular event, or a specific moment steals away all the time in between because you’re too busy yearning for the next event. Embrace life. Life’s big events are incredibly exciting, but sometimes the big picture is lost, and you find yourself clinging to the next big event just to get by. How horrible is it to dread going to work every single day? to forget the real reason behind a $20,000 or $30,0000 wedding? to long every single day of the week that it be Friday? Life is quite an experience in itself, and everyday is an opportunity to learn and grow. If it’s not, then you have the power to change that.
And no matter how awful your day has been, try to find some good in it. Like my mom has always said, “don’t wish your life away.”