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Soon, when I graduate college in May, I will be between phases. I imagine myself waiting for the next step, which I am already trying to figure out. I see such a wide open space ahead of me, where I can do anything and become the person that I am meant to be.

Thinking like this presents some issues to me, and I will briefly trace my thinking process here. I doubt I am alone with this inner monologue:

Wow, there are so many opportunities waiting for me!

What if I don’t find the right one?

Is there a “right” thing for me to do, a “right” way for me to be?

How do I answer this?

Can I answer this?

Here, the mental overwhelm ensues.

I have realized how so many of my emotions and feelings come from dwelling on places other than the present. I often say that I “live in the past” and that I dislike looking to the future. I am writing this as a senior in college, during the fall 2022 semester, and there are so many aspects of this time that I will quickly lose. Similarly, you are reading this at some point, maybe close to when I publish this, maybe some months later, etc. When I say that I will lose this present time in my life, I also need to acknowledge that I have it right now. I am studying what I love, I am creating meaningful connections with my family, friends, and professors, I am working hard, and I am making myself proud with all of this and more. I focus so much on what I might forget that I also forget to remember the now.

Although this is something that I am still trying to learn, I can tell that I am much happier when I focus on the present, and especially when I accept where I am in life. How would you feel without a constant voice in your head reminding you that you still have so much to learn and figure out, asking you if you reacted to past situations correctly, and weighing you down with the thought of your faraway full potential?

I am creating new narratives for myself to validate my current experience. I am here, and I am enough. I may learn new things that will change my view of the world, and cause me to want to change the past, but I am doing the best with what I know right now. And what I know is valid. I am young, and I cannot expect myself to do everything before I know where to start. The only way that I have figured out big decisions in the past is by letting the answers come to me, instead of getting upset that I am not as fast as everybody else.

To myself and anyone reading this: take some time to treasure the now and the current version of yourself. We all breathe at our own paces. Why not allow ourselves to accept the natural pace and timing of life in a similar way?

Catherine Desiderio is a senior English major at Adelphi University with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in computer science. She is a poet, music lover, iced coffee enjoyer, and the Editor-in-Chief of Adelphi's Her Campus chapter. A passionate writer, Catherine believes in the power of words to learn and find oneself, which she hopes to share with as many people as possible.