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The Pursuit of Tomorrow This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Thecrowd gathers on the floor as the announcer introduces us. I ignore them as wetake our positions and the music begins. The beat pulses in my ears and I countto myself, "Five, six, seven, eight ..." The dance begins and Iconcentrate, mentally jumping ahead to the next move. Suddenly, as my head snapsin its direction, I notice the crowd. They smile at me, cheering and evenwhistling, and I delight in their reactions. My enthusiasm escalates with theirencouragement. At the end of the dance I shake with excitement as adrenalineflows through my veins. Suddenly, I understand what I missed during all my otherperformances. Wrapped up in the next move, I did not enjoy the dance or thepleasure I brought to others. I finally realized that in my pursuit of tomorrow,I had overlooked the joy that today offered.

I used to dash through lifeas fast as I could. I constantly made lists and schedules, preparing and planningfor the next day, week or month. I religiously used my agenda book, treating itas my bible. As the Queen of Organization, I always knew the the next day'sactivities; nothing ever surprised me. Not only did I know my schedule, but allthe important details, too.

Thoughts of what to wear, how I could finishthat project in time, and who I might see at the game Friday night filled myhead.

Looking back, I recall all those details, but in my rush, I missedan important piece of the picture ... the fun of living. My thoughts becameclouded by the future; I never stopped to think about the present. I overlookedthe crowd's reaction to our dances, disregarded the excitement of a night outwith friends, and failed to spot the pleasure in a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Now when I find myself rushing, I take a step back and look at thewonderful moment right now. Obsessing over the future left me feeling incomplete,always waiting for tomorrow without a thought about today.

As my senioryear ends, this harsh reality hits even closer to home. I wish I could go backand enjoy every face in the crowd. Spending my moments with friends wisely, Iwould savor each moment. Valuing time now, I rush to develop better friendships,spend less time worrying about homework, and trust that problems will workthemselves out (eventually).

A friend of mine came to the conclusion longago that this maxim is dead-on: "Life is too short to sweat all the smallstuff. Don't worry, troubles will take care of themselves." At first hercrazy philosophy led me to question her sanity. Eventually, though, I realizedshe was probably saner than the rest of us by not allowing life to stress herout.

While my friends and I pulled "all-nighters," trying tofinish our DNA concept maps, she watched television and went to bed early. Muchto everyone's surprise, it snowed several inches that night and school wascancelled. Of course, she easily finished her concept map and turned it in ontime along with the rest of us. Rather than becoming jealous or frustrated by herluck, I decided to follow her lead.

It took only a moment for me torealize the excitement I missed every day in my pursuit of tomorrow. Although Icannot relive what I missed, I now know to relish what is to come. Never againwill I miss a smiling face or pass up a night on the town. Homework now rarelyinterferes with the rest of my life. Since my revelation, I try to live by thisquote, "Tomorrow may never come, yesterday is forever gone, today is all wehave." I treasure this advice as I slow down to enjoy the dance.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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