Beware of countdowns

Beware of countdowns

by Nikole Weber

I have a tendency of living in the future. No, I’m not a time traveler, and no, I don’t have a time machine. What I do have is countdowns. 35 days until graduation. 62 days until my best friend comes to visit. 239 days until Christmas.

Once I reach a milestone, the next special occasion takes priority of my thoughts. Each morning when I wake up, I derive my energy from the ticking down of seconds on my iPhone countdown app. But what I often fail to realize is that each ticking second also marks the countdown of my time here on earth.

Living from countdown to countdown means that each day of my life is reduced to a number which only gets me closer to the next “big thing”.  And suddenly, I can’t remember what I did in between.

While life was offering beautiful moments around me, my mind was far ahead of my body. While I waited for the next monumental event, time did not wait for me.

Tick. The leaves changed.

Tick. My parents grew older.

Tick. I became an adult.  

We take the ordinary for granted until we no longer have it. We forget to appreciate the familiar smile of our local barista, the ridiculous sound of our best friend’s laugh, and the way the sunset paints the hills behind our house.

Each day presents itself with new opportunities, new people, and new moments, and all of those little things have the potential to be the “big things” in life. If your eyes are always fixed peripherally to what lies ahead, you’ll be blind to what’s been right in front of you all along.

Recognize the transience of every moment, weighing each with equal importance. Hold on tight to the things and people you love, and when you have them in front of you, be mindfully present.

Instead of viewing time as an obstacle between now and the next vacation, regard it as a precious gift that not everyone will receive. Time waits for no one, so we must try to live more fully, love more deeply, and cherish each tick of the clock.

While counting down days creates excitement and gives that extra push we sometimes need to get through the tougher days, be careful not to let countdowns turn you into a time traveler.