A lot of thoughts that made me stop and think have crossed my mind today.

  • Everything in life is temporary including life itself. Most things we have the power to change ourselves. Other things are left up to time and fate to be controlled.
  • When I look back to just a month ago, I realize what I said I wanted and what I really wanted were not the same. I realized later that this was even truer than I thought when a song came on.
  • I feel trapped; I feel like I don’t have the freedom to what I want to do without everybody leaving. I can’t leave and come back without questions. I realize it’s the same on the other end, except it’s offered voluntarily. I also realize this is exactly how I’ve felt my whole life. However, when it’s someone you love and trust instead of a complete stranger, it’s a lot easier to go with the flow.
  • One thing I was told recently was to pay attention to how you feel, which is something I’ve been doing more of since then. I notice that when I’m feeling smothered or vulnerable, I eat and shop. I suppose this is nothing new but as I grow older they’re things that I can’t just run to mom and dad and say “I need…” anymore. With this, comes the truth that I need to be more responsible all the time and neither of these are responsible ways to deal with pain.

Even though I didn’t say it, each item on this list was a result of thinking about the above item. All these thoughts are connected and rooted in realizing that nothing in life lasts forever.

I’ve been very on edge lately. I know dreams aren’t real and I know there’s no point in dwelling on them. Often times when I remember my dreams they’re either so real I sit in bed for however long it takes to remember what really happened the day before and what I dreamed happened the day before or they’re so completely unrealistic I wonder how my mind synthesizes that. However, whether realistic or obvious fantasy, they’re always crystal clear. The other night during my dreams, several of my friends died right in front of my eyes. Some of them even died more than once. I knew this dream was obviously not real, but I also had an extreme urge to check on my friends. In the end, I only checked on one of them.

This isn’t to say that I felt like this friend was the most important of all the ones I watched die. This isn’t to say that I felt like the others weren’t important at all. But, after sitting in bed for a while trying to process what I saw and how it made me feel on a conscious level, I realized only one face still had a name. I recognized every single person in that dream, and I can still tell you every single person in that dream, which isn’t something I can normally do. This is why it’s so odd to me that I only felt I needed to reach out to one person.

Even though I had this dream days ago, it still haunts me. If anything reminds me even slightly of any person in that dream I instantly worry about them more than I used to. I will suddenly feel like I need to pick up the phone and call them, hear their voice, make sure everything’s okay, yet I still do nothing. I know what keeps me rooted in inaction is the promise of tomorrow. That’s the problem though, tomorrow isn’t promised.

Promised or not, I always live for tomorrow just as much as I live for today. There are plenty of people who would tell me this isn’t the right attitude. This is what I believe: Today is promised and tomorrow isn’t. There is not enough time in a single day to do everything we want or need to do. Good things take time. So today, I lay the groundwork for tomorrow. And tomorrow I build the foundation. The day after tomorrow I lay down the cornerstone and so on. These days are in no way meant to be literal, but I only hope that by the time tomorrow doesn’t come for me I have left my mark on this world, and most importantly the people in my life. Likewise, I hope that by the time all my friends run out of tomorrows they have touched my life too. I hope that they will have left a legacy that I can speak proudly of without editing things out. Nobody’s perfect of course, but people can be essentially good and this is what I hope for.

So now, back to my claim that everything is temporary and having the power to change things can be within our hands. I believe that even if somebody goes “chasing death” and dies, death wasn’t imminent. And even if it was, that person still chose to go “chasing death.” In that person’s eyes, what if they’re really chasing life? What if they’re going after the possibility of no tomorrow and are met with it? What’s so wrong with that? I’m not trying to come off as an adrenaline junkie nor an advocate for it, but seriously, how often do we actually stop and think about what we would do today if tomorrow weren’t promised? How often do we make bucket lists and leave them for tomorrow? How often are we blessed with a tomorrow that has changed our minds about yesterday? Most importantly, how often do we think about these things?

We always have the power, but the magnitude of that power is very much dependent on awareness. The more we are aware of, the more power we have. The more we can see in nature, the more we listen to what’s happening around us, the more logical our decision to leave the umbrella at home becomes. In a society driven by technology, we often overlook things our ancestors worked to understand. We use technology as a crutch instead of growing ourselves in other ways. I’m not trying to advocate for or against this notion, I love that I can pull out my smartphone and find any information I want. However, I also wish I was more compelled to seek harder for information as I know it would be appreciated more.

I wish I could measure my own power. I wish there was a quantifiable way for me to see how much power I have, and how much of that I use. We use power in terms of so many things that are unquantifiable: power of positive thinking, superpowers, knowledge is power, etc. Quantifiable or not, the important thing is how many forms of power do we have? I believe in looking on the bright side, although I know I often fail when I’m feeling down. I believe I have superpowers, even though they don’t measure up to those of superman. I believe that knowledge is power; but being an expert in one field doesn’t go very far. I know that power fluctuates. The amount of power you hold in one situation says nothing about the amount of power you hold in another situation. Also, the power you hold today says nothing about the power you will hold tomorrow.

Every day is a gift and every event of every day is a gift. This world, this life, is a miracle. The beauty all around us, and the darkness, is a gift. So many of the quotes I keep on my wall can be redefined to the circle of life. It’s true, that some of them were meant to. However, many are about the present or the certainty of the future. I like to think about whom I will become and the people I will have the potential to reach, however, lately, I have been moving more towards action versus inaction. I have spent more time thinking about the people I have touched than those who I will touch. To be honest, I can’t tell you everybody I have touched or everything I have done with the intention of touching people. To me, it didn’t matter too much at the time; I just did what I felt I had to do. Now, as I think about what I have done, what I will do, and what I may never have the chance to do, I just hope that I have done enough for today. I hope even if what I did was as temporary for the recipient as it was for me to just do without thinking, it meant something when it happened.


Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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