Congratulations to the recent Chonbuk National University graduates! The graduation a few weeks ago, was a good reminder of how life works in seasons – remember last issue’s topic. As I watched the graduates of all levels and different majors receive their diplomas, I reminisced about my own graduation many moons ago. I had no clear path and life was an open page in my book. I took advantage of my youth to explore the world, build up a network of friends and after finishing my education, it was time to work. I never imagined that life would lead me to South Korea.
As we go through life, we realize how it sometimes catches us off guard and our paths somehow make an unexpected turn in the road. This is not always bad. I believe things happen for a reason, nothing is coincidence. We don’t know as things happen, what the future holds. So how can we prepare?
One way to prepare is to live in the present, taking each day as it comes. We can set goals to help us move forward and make the most of our time every single day. We can also spend more time on relationship-building, with the people in our lives, that are important to us- family, friends, coworkers, and people you meet on your travels and want to keep in touch with. [In the digital age, keeping in touch has become so convenient, there’s really no excuse not to.] We can also do things in which we are interested. For example, if there is a certain hobby you like doing but don’t take the time to do often enough- start making the time for it. That means prioritizing what is important, and decreasing the time on what is less so (i.e. computer or video games, SNS activities, shopping for unnecessary things, etc.).
One case in point would be sports. We do and play sports to give us energy, to make us feel good, to spend time with friends you play sports with, and because it is one way to stay fit and healthy. Amateur photographers enjoy capturing certain images that catch their eye. Writers like to express their ideas to share with others. Leaders and teachers often give their time to people younger than themselves, to mentor them and help them navigate the choppy seas of life. These pastimes and activities serve a greater purpose, somehow, we don’t always know how.
Another way to prepare is to take periodical checks of where you are in life. Reflecting on the first half of this year, as some of you may be doing now, is a good way to see if you are making the progress you want. Are you comfortable in areas that you wanted to build up because you were weak in them (like speaking English). What goals did you set for yourself back in January? Did you work on them diligently? Are you satisfied with the improvements you have made? Do you have updated goals for the coming months? Are there things you want to change? What needs to happen for you to improve in areas of your life that are not where you want them to be?
This kind of reflection is not always an easy thing to do. We need to give ourselves time to consider this deeply. We might feel very satisfied in our lives. Or, we might feel disappointed, that we wasted a lot of time not doing the things that would have helped us move forward. Let us not despair, do not dwell on the past rather look to the future. Focus on what you are able to do every day that is ahead of you, starting with today. We all know this saying, “Carpe diem!” Seize the day! Our lifetime is a mere few seconds in the span of eternity. We are all given the same 24 hours of time each day, to do with what is most important. As an Unknown Author once wrote, “The best way to get something done is to begin.”