It is said that half the country suffers from constipation because we do not take the time out of our hectic lives to sit down and take a shit! This, I believe, is painful evidence that we as a people need to slow down and relax!

We are in, what most would call, our golden years the prime time of our lives. We are young, attending an incredible university and have a vast future of endless possibilities ahead of us.

The problem is, that future is approaching way too quickly and I have found that the present has been devoured by the famished jaws of the times to come.

We live in a changing world my friends, one in which carefree summer vacations on the beach have been exchanged for cheap and monotonous labor inside claustrophobic cubicles.

The power-hungry employers of the world have warped our young minds and instilled in us a desire to pass up the blithe opportunities we have only at this point in our lives, in order to load our plates with unnecessary and unfulfilling “go-for” experiences.

We no longer look forward to pulling in the bare minimum while chasing little squirts around camp all day. We stopped considering waiting tables and spending our earnings on pizza and beer every night as a decent exchange of economic supply and demand.

Our lives are suddenly consumed with the far off future, and then the incredible efforts we make to bring that future closer.

Well, I am here to ask the student body to apply the brakes a bit. Let”s all slow down the pace, pick up our heads once in a while, and take an appreciative look around at the scenic entities of our lives right here and right now.

My esteemed yoga instructor taught me this valuable life lesson once. She sat the class down and asked us a very simple question, requiring an even less complicated answer. “I would like you to pretend that you have no prior knowledge of anything at all. Imagine that you have learned nothing, have no memory, and only know what is in the very present. Where are you?”

After a brief absorption of her commands, the class answered, “Here.”

She then questioned, “What time is it?”

“Now.”

We must begin to focus on the “here” and the “now.” We must put the past behind us and leave the future where it belongs. Let”s begin to recognize the beauty of life and the significance of our lives in each, individual moment they occupy.

For, the preciousness of these moments, these single instants of time, is constantly overlooked. I dare you to peer a little deeper.

The Diag, on any given weekday afternoon, is filled with undulating movement between home, classes and coffee shops. I cannot help but observe that we have all developed a certain pattern to our step, an almost choreographed walk that goes virtually unnoticed unless a mindful eye like my own is lurking.

The body is transformed into a “mechanical” form: Head bowed, eyes forward, arms swinging to the rhythmic march of hurried feet and a mind concentrated solely on what lies ahead. Whether it is the next class, what to eat for dinner, or what career path to follow, that focus is always pointed in one direction: “there.”

Friends, these are our golden years! These are the days about which every adult (yes, we are all adults but you know what I mean) raves, which everyone passed their prime regards as the times we must cherish most.

Let”s respect our elders, folks. We should listen to their words of wisdom and treasure the benefits that come with our youth, our elasticity, and especially our incapability to determine our futures at this very moment.

Let us revel in the fact that our destiny is unknown, instead of attempting to grab at it prematurely. In love and war, nature will surely prevail so by all means let it take its course. I assure you, your cubicle days will come.

Please, don”t box yourself in now! Not when the world has so much beauty to be seen and so much innocent fun to be had.

We are young, easily inspired and filled with an undying zest to conquer the world. I say we go out and do it but slowly, happily and with a wondering eye to take in the amazement all around right here and right now.

Rena can be reached at rgreifin@umich.edu.

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