Every decision you ever made led you to this very moment.
Right now, a choice made five, 10, 15 years ago compelled you to take that seat, to sip that coffee, to read this article.
Say you’re given the chance to go back in time, and do one, maybe even two things different.
Three weeks ago, I sat in a coffee shop on a typical weekday -- laptop open, headphones in, anticipating a productive day of schoolwork.
I decided on a whim to listen to the highly anticipated, newly released “Hello” by Adele.
Within the first 30 seconds, I felt my hands shake. Whatever decisions I made that let me to that very moment I wouldn’t take back, because this song struck a very necessary chord.
Music, a metaphysical chameleon, makes sense of my thoughts when my words fail to.
Society instructs us to maintain a poker face. We deem emotions a taboo. We place our feelings in a time capsule, and let the world pan out accordingly.
Simultaneously, messages invoking us to “live like we’re dying” and to “make the most out of the one life we have” throw us off track.
While I appreciate music for expressing how I feel when I’m too shy to admit to these feelings, I often find myself scrambling for the courage to break down all barriers and fearlessly express myself.
Why have we always convinced ourselves it’s too late? And if we’re afraid of it being too late, who let us get to this point?
“Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet to go over everything. They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing.”
My mind took me back to all that I wish I could take back, all that I would’ve done much differently if given the chance.
Then, I panicked; is it too late to right my wrongs?
Starting a new life 3,833 miles away from home in Copenhagen, Denmark provoked me to take a long hard look at my relationships overseas.
Life knows no normalcy, and my departure’s circumstances were far from what I predicted five months prior.
Back then, I used to say that I live without any regrets, until I realized I could’ve let people make certain mistakes if it meant still having them in my life.
Nevertheless, everything happens for a reason -- right? Whatever we do, good or bad, we learn from.
Back then, I wish I didn’t sweat the small stuff. I wish I did a better job of putting things into perspective, and realized what deserved my time and what didn’t much sooner.
I thought I knew everything, but that was just one mistake that turned into many.
If I could reverse time, I would’ve let some people learn the lessons on their own, because every attempt I made trying to get my point across backfired.
I wish when I realized this, I didn’t pretend not to care.
We’re always begging one another for the truth, but can’t take our own advice.
When we finally come to terms with honesty’s necessity, we feel like it’s “too late.”
After this (for me at least), this conclusion just turns into a painful cycle of rumination. It turns into the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve, type of enigma.
We’re consistently warned about the dangers of acting irrationally, to not be hasty in our decision making, and above all, to just “go with the flow.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s not working for me anymore.
“Hello from the other side. At least I can say that I’ve tried to tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart, but it don't matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore.”
Adele speaks directly to the fear of failure our generation universally shares.
The fear of taking risks, the fear of falling in love, the general fear to live.
We’re young, we’re adventurous and feel as if we have our entire lives ahead of us to admit that we’re wrong.
Here lies a perpetual state of denial, a denial that the only thing constant in life is change.
Sooner or later, that “window of opportunity” may simply not exist anymore, and we must accept that our honest emotions may not be received with open arms.
When I first listened to “Hello,” I couldn’t think straight.
It forced me to come to terms with how much I have to say, in just how little time.
Nevertheless, I lack the outlet, the reasoning and the solution.
I fear becoming irrelevant, forgotten, a distant memory.
Though a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor, and we say it’s always better to know the truth instead of wondering what could’ve been, that’s not something I think my generation has come to full grips with.
We’re not supposed to wear our heart on our sleeve anymore, so none of us really quite knows what reality is.
Our emotions lay masked, and we’re left guessing.
“It’s no secret that the both of us are running out of time.”
When we're young and we feel invincible, like we have all the time in the world to let time right our wrongs.
When we finally realize the mistakes we’ve made, the stopwatch all of a sudden ticks at an imminently faster rate.
Why do we always feel like it’s too late? Why is it too late to follow our dreams? Why is too late to apologize, to catch up, to just say what we feel?
What stops us from living, and encouraging us to just exist? I’m growing up and maturing day by day, but when I began to gain such insight into the universe, where did my bravery go along the way?
The last thoughts on anyone’s mind at night are never hateful.
When I go to bed, I think about how much I love my friends, how thankful I am for my parents and how much I wish I had the courage to reach out to those who still mean the world to me, after all the painful history we endured in relation to one another.
I wish I had Adele’s courage to just say what I mean for the sake of releasing my thoughts into the universe, so that maybe a small chance exists for a happily ever after.
Every decision you ever made led you to this very moment.
Thirty-four days ago, I traveled to Paris with a friend.
I’ll never forget my carefree, joyous, serene experience traveling one of the world’s most beautiful cities for the very first time. Just five days after I left France, terror struck just 15 minutes away from my accommodations.
I couldn’t escape the frantic “are you okay?” messages, and the overall sweeping panic across the media.
One of those 130 victims could’ve been a friend, a relative, hell, I could’ve been one of the 130.
If I made one different decision, my first moments in Paris may not have been carefree, joyous and serene.
I thank my lucky stars I ended up in Paris November 5 to November 8, to see Paris in its most pure beauty, to have my health and safety in tact, to continue having the chance to live and to maybe for once just make the “mistakes” I’ve so desperately feared making.
Our generation needs to come to grips with the fact that we’re not invincible.
Open your eyes.
War, terror and unrest surrounds us. Crisis comes into fruition like clockwork nowadays, but we never think it could be us.
If I had done one thing differently, it could’ve been me.
I, like you, need to stop fearing honesty, because the fact of the matter is that life really is too short and too precious to leave some words unsaid.
Maybe it’s been days, months or years since that one problem keeping you up at night first developed. Make sense of the madness today, because tomorrow proves no guarantee.
We owe it to ourselves to live life to the fullest, to not hold back and to say "I love you" a million times a day.
If today was your last day, wouldn’t you want that to be the legacy you leave?
Take a second to remove yourself from the situations you regret and think of the situation holistically.
What’s holding our generation back from honesty?
Is it the socially constructed fear of being “crazy,” or just the own barriers we build?
Perhaps it’s time for our generation to identify more with Adele, and realize that time maybe doesn’t heal all wounds.
There truly is no time like the present to take matters into our own hands.
Today’s the day.