You have heard it a million times.
“I just can’t wait until I’m graduated.”
“I just can’t wait until I’m married.”
“I just can’t wait until I can leave Utah.”
“I just can’t wait until I have a real job.”
“I just can’t wait until I am finally on my own.”
The list goes on and on.
Every day people are just wishing and waiting life was different.
I am no stranger to these thoughts as well. I have uttered the phrase “I just can’t wait until…” many times.
It doesn’t help to live in Provo, a city filled with overachievers trying to graduate as fast as possible, people getting married to someone they just met and fast Sunday testimonies discussing how someone’s life started falling perfectly into place after they started reading their scriptures consistently.
It’s easy to feel discouraged and like a failure when everyone besides you seems to have life figured out.
The end of freshman year I went through a particularly difficult breakup, and just about every day you could probably have overheard me talking to my friend or my mom saying “I just can’t wait until I am okay again.” That whole summer and much of the next semester, I wallowed in sorrow many times at how unfair it all was and how I was convinced I would never be okay again.
When I went through another breakup just 18 months later, I remember thinking and telling my friends, “Dang, I can’t wait to be married so I don’t have to deal with dating anymore.”
Well, 2.5 years, another breakup and a cute, new boyfriend later, I am still not married and I am perfectly happy with that! I have learned that each dating experience I went through taught me something. While it didn’t make sense in the moment and there were nights filled with tears, looking back I can see that there was still joy to be felt and life to be lived during the heartache.
More importantly, I learned that wishing and waiting for things to get better didn’t necessarily do me good. There were times I wished so badly for things to be different, I forgot to enjoy where I was.
I just graduated, but only officially will get my diploma this August after I finish my final credit on a study abroad. These last two semesters of my undergrad were most definitely the hardest for me. I genuinely don’t know how I survived most days and many times my coworkers and friends would hear me say, “I just can’t wait to graduate.”
While I am glad I am finally here and graduated, looking back I wish I would’ve been more fully present. I felt I was just holding on, continually saying, “after this week, things will be easier,” when in all honesty, there were great things happening each week that sometimes I didn’t notice, and too often, took for granted.
In both of these instances, it wasn’t wrong for me to be excited to move on and get to a different stage in life. But, I could’ve enjoyed many stages of my life more if I had slowed down and stopped hoping for life to continue forward.
Friends, coworkers, ward members and other people around me have complained again and again about how they just cannot wait to leave Utah. They hate the dating scene, the Provo culture, the weird people you meet in YSA wards, and they always find reasons to complain about BYU. I have to admit, I don’t disagree that there are issues. I have even written a previous opinion about the pressure of marriage in Provo’s dating scene.
It’s incredibly important to be present where you are. There are things to be endured and happiness to be experienced in every phase of life.
I am not trying to say that ambitions such as graduating, getting married or moving somewhere else are bad. I just think too often we rush life.
We rush into dating, then rush into getting engaged and rush into marriage when there are so many amazing aspects of each of those steps of a relationship!
We speed through college to get a job to move away and to get out of debt which is understandable but also, shouldn’t we have some fun along the way? Can’t we follow the cliché saying and take some time to stop and smell the roses?
There are also plenty of reasons to enjoy your time in Utah while you are here. I mean, if you’re stuck in Utah for four years for college, you might as well make the best of it. Even though we Utahns are a peculiar people, I’d like to think we have some good qualities as well.
Wherever you are, whatever is going on in your world, I can guarantee no one has it perfectly figured out. God has a plan for each person and there is no use in trying to rush toward certain milestones.
Life isn’t a speed-run of Super Mario Bros where you have to finish as fast as you can with the most perfect score possible. We can meander along the way, doing side quests and having fun messing around on the Yoshi level.
Be excited about the rest of your life! The best days of your life have yet to come. But also, don’t forget to be happy where you are.
I am not the best at it, but I am trying every day to enjoy my current situation, even right now as I am writing this sick in bed with COVID-19 (the ‘rona finally got me after two years of the pandemic).
Enjoy where you are at and let today be today. Don’t wait for the rest of your life to start. Start it today by embracing the now.
– Cassidy Wixom