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THE STINGER

THE STINGER

The student news site of Emmaus High School

THE STINGER

THE STINGER

Graphic courtesy of Canva.
Balancing work and school
February 22, 2024

Half Orange: looking into the future

Photo+courtesy+of+Lopez.+
Photo courtesy of Lopez.

This previously appeared in our October 2023 issue.

So I’ve made it, right? I’m finally a senior. I’ve made it to a point in my life that felt so far away for so long. Being a senior always felt like this rank that belonged to the best of the best. From elementary school, I always thought seniors were the coolest, most untouchable people in the world, and now that I am one, I can definitely say I’m disappointed. Guess what? There is no difference between senior-me and junior-me, and I didn’t think entering my final year of high school would suddenly endow me with the coolness and power that I sorely lacked, but I expected something.

Literally anything.

Since I can remember, I’ve always been working toward something, but toward what exactly? I’ll ask people much older and experienced than myself and the sum of their answers is “go to college.” After that? Get
a job. So you can retire. So you have more time. So you can be happy. There is always a “do this so you can have that,” but when does it end? There are three scathing truths that I’ve come to terms with, and you should too. Life will be 100 percent easier after you accept it. It’s not just about reading words on a page and expecting them to click. You have to make them click.

For starters, life will not come to you. You are not a benign planet in an orbit out of your control just waiting for something to happen. You’ve got to make it happen. You are the only thing on this planet you can control — so make use of it.

I often get caught up in this idea that fate will just make everything in my life happen the way it needs to, and sure that’s not entirely wrong, but it’s not correct either. It frames me as this poor victim to the best and the worst the world has to offer and though we can’t know everything, we do know a little, right? You need to be active in the paths in your life and your future. If you don’t play
a role in making your life better, who’s supposed to?

A harsh lesson to learn, but a true one. Fun facts about all of these rules: if you don’t learn them, fate will just keep serving them up on a silver platter.

Secondly, people don’t actually change that much, unless they want to. Now take this one with a grain of salt and a hopeful lens. I do not mean this in a bad way at all. As you cross this seemingly (but truthfully not) amazing threshold into adulthood, you’ll meet adults much older than you who still feel as young as 18. I just joined a book club full of women over their 60s who gave me
a new perspective on the world. They were as youthful as (perhaps even more so than) myself. I will say they have experiences, moments in their life that define them that I just don’t have yet. We often put adults on this pedestal as if they’re automatically superior to us, no exceptions, but that’s simply not true. They’re us, but 20, 30, 40 years older.

And finally, more importantly than anything I’ve learned so far: there is no “next thing”. Okay, so you do have a future, and there is technically a next thing, but don’t worry about it. Don’t keep working toward something that hasn’t even happened yet. You will be told your whole life that you’re working toward something, whether it’s graduation, college, or a job but that’s not really what matters. If you focus solely on what comes next, you’re going to miss the beautiful and imperfect ‘now’. The ‘now’ that you can touch and feel. The you that exists in this moment is no less important than the you that exists in the future.

And the future is uncertain. Do you know what it is? Right now.

There might not even be a next thing, and for us, there is only now. Live it, enjoy the world as it is and tomorrow, you’ll make it what it can be. Today, the “you” of the present is enough.

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About the Contributor
Bek Lopez, Managing Editor
Bek has been a part of The Stinger for three years. She is a part of the Astronomy Club, Theater Department, Debate Team, Hornet Ambassadors, and Collage. She enjoys writing, literature, and traveling.

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