A family is sitting in the living room for dinner. The TV is on, phones are in hand and homework is laying on the floor, temporarily forgotten. They eat hastily, still focused on their previous tasks and are already anticipating the next thing which must be done, before the first is even completed.

America has been criticized for many things; our fast paced, electric lifestyle being one of them. A trait which can be attributed to our extensive urban development, American society has grown to value one word above all others: “Go.” We have become obessesed with living five minutes into the future; nothing can ever be done fast enough. This mindset has wormed its way into every aspect of American life, plaguing our minds.

The single greatest example of this plague is the birth of a child. As perverse as it may sound, there is logic behind this statement, I assure you. Within days of a child being born, parents, relatives, and family friends begin to plot her future. I cannot count how many times I have heard parents proudly say, with a twinkle in their eye: “She’s going to Harvard Medical School!” before their poor child can even open her eyes. While it is more than understandable for parents to have hopes and dreams for their children, we cannot overlook the fact that this is a human being. The life of a person is not determined by their accomplishments, but by what they learn. “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”  We never finish learning in our lives. Learning is a process which will continue until our very last day. Perhaps not in the sense which we normally think of as learning, but learning nonetheless.

Our fast paced mindset is constantly thinking of tomorrow, six months from now, next year. I am more than guilty of partaking in this myself; always thinking, or rather, obsessively worrying over of my future. Which university will I attend? What will I major in? Where will I work? Where will I live? The list is endless. After many sleepless nights lying awake and going over these same questions time and time again, I had an epiphany. It is just plain stupid, for lack of better words, to waste time now worrying about tomorrow. That is not an excuse, by any means, to justify reckless actions with phrases such as “YOLO,” but quite the opposite.

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