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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: Hit pause, live today

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Editor’s Note: This story includes mention of potentially triggering situations, such as cardiac arrest and death.

As a freshman during the fall semester, I curiously wandered through Kirkwood, excited to discover everything there was in the town I would call home for the next four years. While walking through the streets confused, I stumbled upon the tiniest little vintage bookstore, called Cavaet Emptor. An ardent bibliophile, I walked in and found myself stunned at the display of books on the numerous shelves of the bookstore. 

The first thought that crossed my mind was how much my father would love this store. I got my love for books straight from him. There was never a time I didn’t find him reading a book before calling it a night. Amazon packages with a new book were a regular occurrence in our house. Every dinner table conversation included at least five minutes of my father sharing the new book he was reading and what he found fascinating about the story. He truly believed reading a book is like travelling the world from the comfort of your home, and you can learn everything there is to learn about life by reading.  

So, when I discovered this oasis of books, the only sensible conclusion was to buy a book for my father and give it to him when I go back home to India over winter break. While making this decision, I got a call from my friend telling me that the bus would be here in a few minutes. Wanting to catch the bus back to the dorms, I decided I would get the book some other time.  

Over the course of the first few months, I kept finding excuses that convinced me to buy the book some other time. Eventually, I made the decision to put off buying the book for my father until the next semester. We were moving into a new house over the summer and this book would’ve made the perfect housewarming gift for my father.  

Unfortunately, the universe had other plans in store. As I got ready for bed on the cold night of December 5th, I got a call from my uncle. I learned my father had a cardiac arrest while he was running in the morning in India, which was December 6 because of the time difference between India and the US, and he had passed away. I could feel a lump in my mouth. My world crumbled around me, and my mind raced through a storm of thoughts.  

I frantically made a million calls and within a couple hours of hearing about the news, I was on a flight to Bangalore, which felt like the longest flight of my life.  

This episode not only taught me about the fragility of life, but also about the unexpectedness it brought with it. Before you know it, clouds cover up the bright sun, giving way to a thunderstorm. A fever starts brewing in your body, making it impossible to take the exam you had been preparing for all week. One phone call snatches away your sense of security and family, leaving you fatherless.  

This made me regret not buying the book for my father to an unimaginable level. I know I would not have been able to give him the book, but I would have been able to tell him which book I bought him and have him eagerly look forward to reading it.  

This moment taught me a myriad of things, one of which was the importance to slow down, and to live for the moment. 

It’s often easy to constantly be worrying about the future, especially as college students. Whether it’s deciding where to live the next year; or what classes to take in the upcoming semester, we’re so consumed with the future, we often forget to recognize the present and acknowledge where we are as of right now. We’re all living the life we dreamt of since the day we entered high school, but before getting the opportunity to relish the moment for what it is, we’re jumping onto the next task on the list.  

As important as it is to be on top of things as a college student and be proactive, it is imperative to remember to live in the moment and to do things that impact your present, not just your future. Being present in the moment allows you to enjoy what’s happening currently and reduces anxiety 

Learning to live for the moment inculcates mindfulness and allows you to appreciate the present and be happier. So go out, enjoy the sun and explore that bookstore, without worrying about how it will impact your schedule for the later part of the day! 

Pehal Aashish Kothari (she/her) is a freshman studying marketing with a minor in apparel merchandising.  

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