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OPINION: Create more time by making more memories

I sat on the edge of my bed, one hand grabbing my chest to hold my broken heart together, the other catching hot tears as they fell from my face. It was the Sunday before CM Life left for a convention in Texas and I had just found that out my grandma had passed. Two nights before, I had made it back home from my baby cousin’s funeral. I held his tiny body for the first time at my uncle’s funeral two months prior to that in January.

I sat there, remembering the pain in my other grandma’s eyes when she buried her son after a short fight with cancer. The exhaustion showed on my cousin’s face as she tried to hold herself together after unexpectedly losing baby Luke to a rare heart condition. There was cracking and pauses in my aunt’s voice when she called me about my grandma who never woke up from her nap. As I digested the news, I thought about my last memory with her.

It was Spring Break and I was driving from Mount Pleasant, to Grand Rapids, to Ann Arbor, to Dearborn, to Detroit, to Pontiac, to Chicago, flying out to New York, flying back to Chicago, and driving home after. Somewhere in there, I found an hour and a half to stop by Clinton Township to see my grandma and listen to her stories. To make a memory.

And I almost didn’t. I almost canceled due to pure inconvenience. I didn’t know it would be the last time. I didn’t know that she’d only have two weeks left. I guess I made it work because I could. I could find a way to make anything work if I really wanted to. Or maybe because I hadn’t seen her in so long. Or because I had canceled on her when my uncle passed. And maybe it was because of him that I did make it work.

I once read that time goes by faster at the end because there are less memorable events happening. In high school, for example, there are many activities like prom, homecoming, senior trip and graduation. When you’re older, you might have a routine 9-5 and feel like there are less new memories to talk about.

So, if you want to create time, you just need to do more stuff.

This means not accepting excuses for yourself and your busy life. It means living, even when you feel like you’re dying. So when it is time to say goodbye, whether it be to a loved one or an experience like college, you won’t think about the things that could have been. You may feel exhausted, you may be broke or broken, you may only have a minute, but find a way to make it work. College is filled with some of the best and worst experiences you will have, and there’s nothing quite like it. So before you walk across stage in your gown, or drop out, or transfer, or whatever it is that you decide to do, ask yourself if you’re proud of how you spent your time. Ask yourself if you accomplished everything you wanted to. Ask yourself — how will I make the most of this?

I sat on the edge of my bed, one hand grabbing my chest to feel it rise and fall with each breath, the other helping me stand back up to prepare for my week in Texas.

To create more time with more memories.