Today as I was walking into Sawyer, I saw a young kid (probably 6 or 7) using one of the computers and managed to catch a glimpse of their screen. On it was a short paragraph with the title “The Fluffy Foxes and the Yellow Ducks,” and they were smiling while they read it. Remember when all we had to do was write about our furry friends just for the fun? Well neither do I — except I guess I kind of just did.
If you ever walk into my room, I can guarantee one thing: my bed will be made. That’s because every morning since I’ve been here, I’ve made my bed as perfectly as I can. You might say I’m a little obsessive over the details of such a trivial task, but I don’t do it just for the sake of having a nicely made bed at night. I take such great care each day for a few reasons.
First, it’s the first concrete task that I can accomplish during the day. And if I start with one thing done before I even step outside, I can add another task completed, and another, and another all throughout the day.
Second, I know it’s probably the one area of my life that I have total and complete control over. There’s no one else who will tell me I’m doing it wrong or that I have to do it a certain way — I’m completely in control without relying on anyone else.
Third and finally, if all else fails and I am not able to control my day or finish as many tasks as I would’ve liked, at least I’ll have a nicely made bed to fall into when I get home.
What would you do if you only had 5 seconds left to live? Would you pray? Apologize? Cry?
Now what if you had 5 minutes? What would you do then? Personally, I think I would call my family and tell them I love them, but that’s just me.
What if we had 5 hours left? This is the one I struggled with most. Do I try and get home to see my family? Do I go on a hike and see the sunset one more time? There’s just enough time to do something, but still not enough.
What if we had 5 weeks? 5 months? Enough time to do a whole multitude of things before the end, but all with the voice in the back of my mind telling me that the clock is counting down.
The one constant in all of these, for me at least, is that I would want to spend whatever time I have left with others that I care about. Forget p-sets and readings and sports and petty disagreements — none of that would matter.
So, with that in mind, I have just one more question: if you only had 5 more decades to live, how would you spend it?
They saw stars…
I rest my case
Now they have to yell “Donald, duck!”
“A man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter”
– James A. Garfield: Williams alum, President of the United States, and, most importantly, peanut butter lover
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the butterfly effect, it is the belief that even the smallest of actions can have a major impact later on down the line — for example, the flap of a butterfly’s wings in one area giving rise to a tornado thousands of miles away.
Now, think about how many times we have flapped our wings to end up where we are today. Think about how many things had to go right and how many more things had to go wrong for us to wind up where we are today. It’s crazy to think that even the smallest of our decisions can impact us in ways that we might not even be fully aware of — that for every path we take, there is an equally viable alternative that we just choose not to pursue.
Thinking about this, however, can make one go crazy overthinking every small decision that they have to make. So while I think it’s an intriguing exercise to go through the “what ifs,” I also think that it’s crucial to remember that whatever decision we make will be the right one — even if for no other reason than because that’s the one that we made.