By Lila Usquiano, English Language Program Student
Lila wrote this essay for the English Language Program Writing Contest. She received an honorable mention.
I am constantly impressed with how life insists on sending us messages at the most unexpected moments and how if we manage to receive and digest them, they are capable of giving an interesting and extraordinary turnaround to our lives.
Particularly, the last two weeks of March were extremely stressful for me. I do not remember having, during the year, days with such tension, chaotic situations that slipped one after another without even warning, days where 24 hours was not enough to read the news, talk to my family, and do my homework.
And right on the cusp of those moments, where I only had to decide what to do and what to leave out, who to look good with and who to look bad with, who to support and who to disappoint because of my apparent lack of time, I heard the casual words of a friend who unknowingly not only changed my mood but also gave me a clear purpose to follow this year.
His words were something similar to “In these moments when stress invades you for what you must do and blames you for everything that does not give you a chance to do, my only recommendation is that you do what you do, give yourself completely to what you decided to do without feeling bad about what you didn’t do and what you could be doing instead. Because whatever you choose, that choice comes from your heart and deserves your own recognition and gratitude.”
And despite perhaps having heard those same words countless times in the past, this time, curiously I managed to feel and internalize them in each of my cells and as if by some magic I understood for the first time what it means to live the moment to the fullest without getting caught in the past or the future.
If you have to describe it in words I would say that if you put all your attention and all your intention into the moment you are living in; if you pass every time a thought of guilt approaches under the table; if you manage to see the details that surround you: the colors, the smells, the flavors; if you manage not to be so aware of the time; and if you manage to smile even if you are alone; you will realize an internal force that is getting bigger and bigger, filling your chest until you feel that it does not fit inside you, lowering your pulsations, and flooding you with an unusual feeling called peace.
My wishes, for all people, are that they can have the opportunity and the privilege of feeling this spectacular sensation more frequently and that we really learn to live in the now and fully enjoy it because the only thing we build is our present and it is this same one that gives us the power to enjoy life while we are living.