Illustration by Annika Hampton.

I look forward to things too much. Right now, nearly the entire student and faculty body can’t help but look forward to summer break. But what about what’s going on around us right now?

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I’m happiest when doing something simple — cooking dinner, reading a book, laying down after a long day of work. It’s not only that, either. It’s odd, but when I look back on my childhood, it’s easier to remember having a “picnic” in my living room and watching a movie with my sister than it is to remember trips to Six Flags.

It took a while for me to understand I don’t always need to spend money to have fun. A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I went to go explore this little forest/nature trail in front of my parents’ house. We walked around for a while, took pictures, climbed trees and bamboo and it was one of those days you know you will remember.

When I focus too much on what will happen, I miss what’s happening. It’s easier to take things, moments and people for granted when doing this too. In the moment that I’m sitting over breakfast with my family, I don’t think about how important that time is until it’s passed.

Looking back at my days, I know I’ve done a lot; however, I only remember moments that were small, intimate and what I consider important. Walking to SCADshow with a close friend, seeing that special person smile and doing a project that I’ve looked forward to for months — all moments I typically took for granted. I didn’t live in the moment when all of those things were happening, but they are close enough to me that I can appreciate details from different parts of them.

The beauty of small things is that there will never be a moment in time like it again. Watching flowers sway back and forth in the spring breeze, appreciating an especially fluffy cloud in the sky and the distant sound of music playing in another room or building as you pass by — all things that happen often, but never in the same way. It’s easy to argue this about every moment, however, the small things are the most calming. In the moment of appreciation for a little bird sitting in a tree and singing, I’m focused on now. I’m not worried about before that moment or after that moment, I’m in the current one.

So look at that flower for longer than you usually might, appreciate the awkward silence after a terrible joke a professor tells and watch the sun set every evening. Focusing on the now keeps you in the now. It’s easier to love the world that way.