The summer is a great time to explore new hobbies, set new goals, and enjoy the freedoms that come with not being on such a regimented schedule. All the while, we often forget that summer is a fleeting time. The warm weather will eventually cool, the stress of school will take hold, and before you know it, summer and all it's magic is gone. When was the last time you took a minute to indulge in summer's magic? In any fleeting moment's value at all?
This past week I hit a couple of important milestones in my internship. Because we are now entering the second half of the summer, my internship’s work has gradually become more complicated and important to the potential employer. For me, the important assignments included a project, and this project meant coordinating with interns in New York and ultimately flying out to meet the executives in the head quarter’s office. It also meant getting interviewed for the first time about a full time offer.
While the importance is striking me now, not once throughout my week did I stop to realize how crazy all this was… My first business trip, paying for everything on my own, and coordinating with people I’ve never met. Not once did I stop and think, wow, i'm working in the Rockefeller Building in New York City. That's one in a million. This pause doesn’t just imply in my career journey, but also in every other aspect of my life.
So often as college students, and as young people, we are constantly engaging with social media; but do we take the necessary time to take pause to our obsession with others, with the future, and the past?
On this trip to New York I am also seeing old friends, specifically my closest friends from high school. Seeing these old friends and catching up with them on our current lives allowed me to come to a peculiar realization about that point in time. There we all sat on a couch, each displaying blatant changes from our time in high school until now. Truly, the scene felt like an early episode of Friends. Unlike Friends, the joy we were gaining from each other’s company was trumped by the mundane discussions we were having about our 'real lives' and personal dilemmas. The need to act 'mature.' So, in those few fleeting moments we had together, we were, instead, focused on far off points in time. How odd. Even more odd is how many times i've experienced this phenomena throughout the course of college.
Call me old school, but never once did we stop to play a game, explain weird ideas we were contemplating in that moment, or really appreciate the fact that we wouldn’t be seeing each other for who knows how many months.
How often as college students, go-getters, and social media fiends do we revel in the fact that this is suppose to be the best times of our lives? For example, rather than taking a picture of us to remember, we take pictures so others can remember. I find this topic hard to discuss because, while I do think people feel the same way, we are reluctant to pull each other out of the weird social anxiety that we constantly feel when we are together.
I’d like to think that many of these things do have to do with the fact that we are constantly checking and updating a constructed social image, rather than checking into our existing presence and what we are truly feeling in a single moment.
I'd like to offer some solutions to this if you've ever shared this odd conundrum I've outlined above. After recently learning about the mindfulness concept STOP, which stands for, “Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Proceed,” I hadn’t realized how much harder I was making things for myself just from the simple fact that I wasn’t even enjoying what was in front of me. Perhaps one exception to these 'valueless' moments we experience with each other could be when you go out to eat with others. Ordering drinks, putting the phone away, looking each other in the eye-- this is one of the few moments we are allowed to indulge. As for work, when was the last time you really contemplated the value in such a moment, such as when you've reached some personal milestone?
For me, I didn’t even think twice about my interviews. Despite having interviews with people who have been in the labor force for 40 years +, the seriousness didn’t really hit me until stepping into my hotel room and realizing, if I did accept a potential offer, I would be embarking on the lifelong journey of work, just as the people who were interviewing me had.
That's a pivotal moment that should cause me to pause. Those people mattered, those conversations mattered, what room I had those conversations in mattered.
What I’m trying to say is you should S.T.O.P.. You should appreciate your friends, indulge in the moment, celebrate the small successes, and let go of the superficial.