I feel that as I’ve gotten older, time has gone by much quicker. Days pass by in what feels like minutes, months fly by in hours, and years fly by in weeks. Throughout high school and even into college, I felt that I didn’t appreciate the time as it was happening; it felt like I was just focusing test to test, one event to the next, but I didn’t appreciate the things that were happening every day. Now that I’m in veterinary school, I’m trying to change that mindset, to not look at a professor’s material as “boring” just because it isn’t the subject matter that I’m interested in, to not complain about waking up early or staying up late, but to enjoy where I’m at. I feel that I’m fortunate to be here and to complain about the little things doesn’t allow me to be appreciative of the opportunities I have been given.
Naturally, one of the ways I found to stay grounded and to stop looking to the future was getting a puppy. Now, sure, when he was going through potty training, there was nothing more that I looked forward to than a future of not cleaning up messes every hour or so, but I came to appreciate the little times with him—learning how to walk on a leash, the first time he learned to sit, even the confused face that he gives when I’m mad at him for chewing up something, how he just wants to play. Now I have a 7-month-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Finnley who forces me to spend time appreciating the things outside of school. Strolls down the street become a time to reflect on my day; he appreciates me no matter how many questions I miss on a test or how stressed I can get because of school.
Another tool that I’ve used to stay focused on where I am is to eliminate as much stress as possible. When we stress, we just focus on doing anything we can to get through that period of time, but this is something that can easily be avoided with good time management and by not stretching yourself too thin. I think the most important thing to avoid stress is to find a time to do something that relieves stress: going on a walk, reading a book, or taking a nap (for a reasonable amount of time). These are all great relievers of stress, but what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, so it is important to find what brings you inner peace. In all the songs about living like we are dying (looking at you, Tim McGraw), they describe how the people live and focus on the day by forgeting about the stress of the next week or the next month.
So go out there and be like Tim McGraw, live like there is no tomorrow, because tomorrow isn’t always guaranteed. Focus on each day, and find appreciation and value in the little things in your life.