You promise yourself that this is the year you will start to get it right. This is the year you will color code your keys to save the fifteen seconds you spend fumbling outside your apartment every evening. This is the year you will stop flirting with your new friend who laughs at your poorly-timed jokes at happy hour, because you’re deliriously tired and desperate for just an ounce of approval after a day of condescending comments from your sexist supervisor. This is also the year you will (eventually) stop making excuses for drinking a whole bottle of wine on a Monday night after skipping yoga for the second time this month.
It’s also a leap year, which is one of those weird things like Daylight Saving Time that happens every year but still doesn’t make any sense. Time, when carefully contemplated, is dizzying.
The last leap year was 2012. That was the year I told myself I would take a photo every single day and create a chronological collection of three hundred and sixty-six snapshots.
For once, I followed through. I recently clicked through the entire album on Facebook. “This was a time in your life,” I repeated to myself, in awe of the forgotten moments I captured, the human beings I slept near and next to, the miles I ran, and the people I called “my people.” I smiled to recall the younger faces these friends, my smiling siblings, and the children I was paid to play Power Rangers with for hours while I continued to search for a job I would be proud to have as a college graduate. I truly succeeded in capturing that year, in all its messy glory. Granted, it was my senior year of college, and I was steeped in nostalgia and fearfully aware of the fact that all of it was fleeting.
I was younger, then. Four years makes a difference. So this is the year I will recommit myself to the things that last. Too often have I chosen the immediate gain. I favored the moments rather than maturity. I want to take a leap in the right direction. And yet I want to build character and develop discipline without becoming disenchanted with the romance of the impermanent pleasure. Isn’t this the greatest struggle? Aren’t these our defining decisions?
There are things that I’ve done that I don’t regret but I should. But I’m trying to be a better person. As Trump’s recent victories have pointed out, there seems to be a shortage of good people. As long as there is the golden hour and people who listen without interrupting, there will be no shortage of magical moments. There will always be beauty in brevity. Thank you for sharing those brief moments with me.
Caroline Higgins (’11) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she spends the vast majority of her time teaching English Language Arts. You may also find her at barre exercise classes or playing (and losing) at bar trivia. She continues to be inspired by the energy and diversity of New York City and the beauty of that certain slant of light.