Living in the present


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At the end of fifth grade, my family’s car was hit by another on the freeway. No injuries were apparent at the time.

by Vivian Jin, Reporter

I had a great time in Harker Lower School.

I gathered bouquets of flower-like autumn leaves to give to teachers, slid over fields of frost-glazed grass with my best friends, combed through the playground tanbark for colorful beads to collect and completed lots of interesting assignments with a touch of creative, personal flair.

Then it all shattered.

At the end of fifth grade, my family’s car was hit by another on the freeway. No injuries were apparent at the time.

However, during a warm-up exercise in my first class of P.E. in Harker Middle School, I suddenly felt a burning pain somewhere over my heart, swayed dizzily and crashed to the ground. When I came to, the troubles began.

Over the course of the next few years, I saw fifteen doctors, each giving me wildly different diagnoses. Some said I might never recover. When we finally linked it to the car crash, I started going to physical therapy three times a week for muscle strain caused by neck and spinal injuries.

That first year of sixth grade, I could not attend P.E. I lost all of my flexibility and balance, so I could no longer dance well. Many more symptoms afflicted me.

Throughout middle school, I reminisced past memories and imagined different outcomes, and, before I knew it, my Blackford years were over.

When I came to Harker Upper School, I looked back and observed that middle school had offered me many opportunities for fun, only I had ignored them in the face of tragedy. I then decided that I did not want to make the same mistake, living in the past and thinking about what could have happened differently.

Instead, I notice each day as I live it: I absorb the crisp morning air and bright sunlight attacking my face in the morning when I open the car door. I smile at the students pouring out of classrooms during passing period, walking in groups and pairs and by themselves.

I relish the slight nervousness I feel when I think about a test in third period, an essay due in two days, or another project I have been assigned. I revel in the hunger I feel when I dream about lunch. I stop and stare at squirrels who eat snacks on top of students’ backpacks.

In just a few short years, we will graduate from all of this, from high school, from Harker. Time flows on, and it’s impossible to turn back.

Thus, I implore you, treasure these stressful, happy, weird, ridiculous years while you can. Please don’t lose yourself remembering the past or planning the future, for the saying goes that right now is a gift– and that’s why they call it the present.