After a long day of water skiing and tubing, I laid on the front of the old fishing boat with my friends and gazed up into the star-filled sky to admire the Perseid meteor shower. The cool breeze and damp seats made it chilly, but I was thankful that I was able to witness the meteor shower that only happens once a year. The rural Wisconsin lake, with nothing but pure darkness all around, was the perfect environment for stargazing.
I watched the meteors streak through the sky while laughing with Mitch and Evan about the highlights of our day. “So tomorrow, are you guys up for some canoeing?” Mitch asked Evan and me. “Where to?” Picturing the three of us in a little canoe together made me laugh a little. “Up the river. The water is high enough this year to get all the way to the beaver dam,” Mitch replied. “Might as well go see it while we can, right?” I added. The water level hadn’t been this high in years. “Yeah, I’m in,” Evan responded. We continued talking about our plans all the while scanning for meteors. Some were only visible for a short moment, while others burned brightly across the whole sky.
I sat up for a minute and looked around, trying to reorient myself, and figure out which way the house was. As I scanned the horizon, Mitch and Evan whispered, in unison, “Woah, did you see that one?” referring to the meteor that just streaked across the sky. I was bummed that I missed it, but my disappointment didn’t last long. “Guys, look at the river mouth. I think that’s Mars.” I pointed out the slightly red planet, just barely visible through the opening in the trees. “Yeah I’d say that’s Mars,” Evan confirmed. Even though I didn’t see one of the brightest meteors of the night, by changing my perspective for just a moment, I saw something just as amazing. We went out onto the lake with the intention of only watching the meteor shower, and by taking the time to look around, broaden my focus for just a moment, I saw more than I had expected.
I have always been an extremely goal driven person, and my daily schedule often reflects my pursuit of these goals with my lack of free time. Everything in my life is approached with the intention of finishing, and achieving my goal, and sometimes, I forget to look around and take in the world.
Spending a week at Cedar Lake with my family and friends has been a part of every summer for quite awhile now. Every year, the three of us take a boat out and sit in the middle of the lake to look at the stars. This past year showed me that even when I do things that are familiar to me, routine, I have to slow down and enjoy every moment.
For now, college is unfamiliar, but in pursuit of my goal to become a doctor, it will become a routine: go to class, study, work hard, and do well. No matter how familiar the walk to class or the feel of the pages of my biology book between my fingers become, I must always change my perspective, and embrace every moment of my life. Otherwise, I will miss out on some of the truly amazing things life has to offer.