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Spring forward emotionally - don't be left behind

Last weekend, Daylight Savings Time forced Ohio and 47 other U.S. states to spring forward, stealing an hour of sleep and bringing later sunsets in return.

We didn't really have a say in that. But what we do have a say in is if we're springing forward mentally and emotionally.

Time's always going to be moving. I can't imagine that anything will change that -- so we need to make sure we are always moving with it.

Just hours before our clocks and phones changed time, I visited my old high school with some friends to see the spring musical. I wanted to see my old friends and, being an ex-theatre kid, a musical is never a bad idea.

Seems harmless, right?

Well, I'm glad to announce that it was, but I owe that mostly to where I am now in life -- freshly 21, appreciating what I have in the present and wanting to push forward, to continue to advance.

I went back to my high school four (!) times during my first year of college. That's four specific visits to Washington, D.C. -- not exactly a quick drive from Oxford -- for the express purpose of visiting my high school.

I know how that sounds. And I'm not shaming anyone that goes back to visit their high school, but I know that for me, emotionally, it was more than just visiting.

I was trying to live in the past. I was trying to get as close as I could, as often as possible, to living the life I'd had before coming to Miami.

I struggle with change and, because coming to college had been my biggest life change thus far, all I wanted to do was retreat back into a space and time that I knew was safe and reliable for me. Whenever I visited with friends from high school, I walked a fine line between catching up and trying to pretend like we hadn't all gone off to college.

But real life does not have time carved out to dwell on the past. Reality doesn't have a pause button -- and I can only rewind moments in my head for so long.

That's the major realization I've had between my first year and now: Appreciate the present and look toward the future. If you don't, you'll be left behind and doing yourself a disservice. You're not allowing yourself to move forward with the rest of the world, you're not allowing yourself to grow.

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Time passes people by every day when they're not living in the present. It's okay to reflect on the past, but when you dwell on the past and try to live in it, you're robbing yourself of the people, the opportunities and the experiences that are right in front of you.

It's better to learn to appreciate the past, if anything. It's a concept that's allowed me to be able to look back at the last few years of my life, especially my best moments, and say, "I'm happy this happened, but I should be focusing on the next chapter."

There'd been a period of time after I'd firmly had this realization where I didn't think I'd ever go back to visit my old high school again, and to be fair, I didn't really feel a need to. I didn't want to let myself slip back into a state where I wanted to relive high school (because, yikes, imagine wanting to relive that).

But when I realized that my already-planned trip home for a concert would also provide an opportunity to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in months/years, I knew there wouldn't be any harm in it.

I've grown up a lot and, granted, I'm still growing up, but something that's changed is that I'm not trying to live a previous lifestyle anymore. It's no longer a priority for me to try to tap into the past. High school's been over for me for close to three years. I don't necessarily judge anyone that wants to relive it, but at a certain point, it became apparent that I needed to let go.

Dwelling on it, and the fact that it's over, wasn't worth it.

And that goes for everything, whether it's high school, an ex, an opportunity that's passed by -- it's okay to take a moment to grieve, but if the plan is to spend a little too long ruminating on something that can't come back, try to accept it and move on.

Because what is worth it, I realized, is striving for more.

Work on the now. It's a favor for the future.

gormanwm@miamioh.edu

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