For an English class, we had to read the book “Bight-Sided” by Barbara Ehrenreich. It was the author’s bold analysis of why America’s “look-on-the-bright-side” culture is harmful. I’ll agree, it can be incredibly frustrating to be pressured to be cheerful when you’re frazzled and tired and just plain-out stressed. Sometimes it’s okay to just feel angry or frustrated or disappointed. Life is tough, especially during such a transitionary time as college.
Well, keep your chin up. There’s a silver lining to extra cloud, as they say.
I had a great discussion with someone last night. This guy has enough stuff to do with his time, let alone have a deep conversation with an uncertain college kid. He’s got a family, a new baby on the way, a successful career. Despite all that, he still had time to tell me to slow down, breathe, and enjoy now. Now is an important time, after all. It kind of brought to mind a great saying I heard in a wonderful movie.
“The past is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today is a gift … that’s why it’s called the present.” – Shifu, Kung Fu Panda
Yes, little animated red pandas can be excellent sources of inspirational quotes.
So, what does all this mean to me, as a college student and growing professional?
It means I need to accept the past, and stop stressing about the future. Always looking back or ahead ruins your ability to appreciate what’s here now. Anxiety over long-finished experiences and what’s to come hurts your chances of seeing the bright side of what right in front of you.
I’m young, and I like to think I have some degree of talent. I’m outgoing, I’m motivated. I’m in a wonderful relationship, I have plenty of friends and a wonderful family. I have plenty going against me, but right now, I have a lot right in front of me to explore and enjoy. And, despite the stress, the pressure, it’s an honor and a privilege to be doing as well as I am.
Based on my post yesterday, it’s fairly obvious that there was some inner-turmoil going on. How I look publicly still matters, but worrying about who I’ll be in ten years doesn’t help me become who I want to be now.
So, that’s my bright-sided view for right now. It’s up to you to apply your own bright side.