Seasons really affect my mood.
I hate summer. I hate sweating and I lose all energy to be productive in the sweltering heat.
In summer, I put on a hoodie, crank up the air conditioning, and stay inside. I become a 引きこもり and leave the house as little as possible. When my friends and I hang out during summer, it is usually always indoors. I have no desire to be tan and the only good things about summer is free time to go to theme parks and the pool. And the ice cream. Let’s not forget about ice cream.
However, I LOVE fall. Fall is my favorite time of year. Ever since I was little, I would get excited for school. I would play in the leaf piles I made behind my grandmother’s house. I would get tons of candy on Halloween and eat on it for a month.
In fall, everything changes. A cool breeze makes it comfortable to be outdoors, and it reminds me most of the times I was at Alabama walking through an empty campus with the sun threatening to sink under the horizon. It reminds me of gathering around the tv to watch the season premiers to my favorite shows.
Lately this fall weather has been making me think about the past. Thinking about the past is rare for me, so sometimes it catches me by surprise when I think about how nice it would be to return to some of my favorite fall days.
Because I’m such a futuristic-thinking person, I am always planning. I want to stay 3 steps ahead so that when I get to my next step, I can plan something else and always keep myself sane by knowing what I will do in the future.
I have to know what will happen in terms of big ideas (school, career, location) but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to plan for everything. Some of my favorite moments in life have been those spontaneous moments you could never have expected. Meeting people on campus, being at the right place at the right time, enjoying food with people you met five minutes ago. Those sorts of things make life worth living and I am really lucky to have so many great memories that have come about from spontaneity.
However, remembering things like that sometimes makes me nostalgic for the past. And it scares me. Why do I, master planner of the universe, need to think back to days and go, ”Oh, I wish I could go back to that time… things were so much better/simpler/easier back then…”
Telling myself things like that often leads to denial. I think most of that denial stems from when I hear other people say ”Enjoy the present! Live in the moment! Don’t look back!”
While it is true that I don’t think it is healthy to live in the past, it is very healthy and sometimes necessary for us to think back to amazing moments in our lives and just enjoy them. Remember, savor, smile because it happened, as Dr. Seuss would say. I don’t think it is at all wrong for me to remember those fun nights playing video games with my friends before strolling down to IHOP on Fridays in college. I think it is good to do so, for when I remember the good times, I remember why I was happy. I was happy because it was random. It was fun. I had good company. I was doing exactly what I wanted at that time.
When I think about the future, I am excited. I mean. REALLY excited. This summer I took the GMAT and the night afterwards, my heart was pounding looking up grad school programs I can take online while on JET. Even now, I look up course descriptions for the Master’s program I have chosen and I get restless for when I will apply and start learning again.
When I think about the past, I am calm. Remembering times when I made curry with my Japanese friends, or spaghetti for my Korean roommates, I am peaceful. I smile to myself and more than actually wishing for that day to come back, I think I am wishing for more moments like that to happen again.
The present is all about the past and the future. You can’t get away from either. But my goal for myself is to remember the good times past and strive to make more good moments in the future. I have to plan the big decisions in my life, but deciding to go to a concert on the fly is exciting and that is why life is so wonderful.
Of course, I can’t plan the bad things that will happen. But I can remind myself that I don’t want to regret anything. If I live without regrets, I can make tomorrow better and I can feel better about yesterday. I remember seeing a quote about regret. I think the author of the quote is unknown, but it says, ”never regret anything because at that moment, it was exactly what you wanted.”
If I am proactive and make sure that I will do everything in my power not to regret something later on by doing exactly what I want (even if it means being lazy on a weekend, telling someone something embarrassing, etc.) I will know that I won’t regret it.
Time is confusing. Our moods can change in seconds. Seasons can change in unpredictable ways. We see the past as a glittering, shining it-was-so-much-better-when time but in reality, we had things to complain about back then too.
My present includes teaching kids who are trying their best now for the future. So that is what I will do as well.