Words on Words: Fusing present and future


Alice Yu

[dropcap style=”light” size=”5″ class=”A”]F[/dropcap]amous for leading the Indian independence movement starting in 1914, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on Oct. 2, 1869 and studied law in London, England during his early adult years. His career of being an advocate and leader began in 1893 when he traveled to South Africa and spent 20 years opposing discriminatory legislation against Indians. Following the philosophy of Satyagraha — resistance through mass non-violent civil disobedience — Mahatma Gandhi became known as a major spiritual and political leader. During his attempt to stop a Hindu-Muslim conflict in Bengal, he was assassinated by Hindu fanatic on Jan. 30, 1948.
On a side note: “Mahatma” is a Sanskrit term for “Great Soul”. It is not Gandhi’s real name, but rather a honorific.
The first part of the quote, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow” was nothing new to me; I’ve heard it and seen it before while joking with friends about doing something that went against better judgement and scrolling through pins on Pinterest. It was the second part of the quote that caught my attention. This is really what life is about, right? Making every moment in our current conscious state matter, not banking on the elusive tomorrow, taking part in the great acquisition of knowledge before.
There is so much in this world that we don’t know. While there is already such a large library of human knowledge of our history, the world, the sciences, and all other subjects of study, it is undeniable that there are still things that we do not even know we don’t know. With that mind-boggling idea, I’ve compiled some ways I try to exercise Gandhi’s wise words.
Take to the stars
Nothing can compare to astronomy in terms of putting me in my place. There is just a sense of wonder to realize that I am less than a speck in this huge void of space that human don’t even know the limit of. There is also nothing more amazing to know that it took years and years of evolution and genetic exchange for me to be me. I am insignificant in the universe, but at the same time I am, because I am unique. Realizing how vast the universe outside of our world is has the uncanny ability to realize how important and vast knowledge is.
Checklists or to-do lists? Take your pick
One way to prevent procrastination and to make sure I’m not pushing off things that can be done today to the depths of tomorrow is by creating to-do lists. If on a particular day I realize that things I have to do greatly outweigh the time I actually have, I partition it off. What should/can be done today? Then what do I have to do tomorrow?  Try to only rely on tomorrow when you have to.
Wake up with a goal-oriented mind set
Set your attitude to positive before you set your feet on the ground when you get out of bed. Have something you want to accomplish in your mind at least by the time you’re out the door.  It can be an actual activity, like finishing a writing assignment during your AUT, or it could be to smile at X number of people before the end of the day.
Travel far and wide
Experience is truly one of the best teaching tools. What better way to understand and comprehend all the different cultures the world has to offer than by living in them?  You may think you have time in the future to travel the world, but you’ll probably end up putting it off until you’re retired and have no energy to run around cities chasing buses and going around in circles trying to find your back to your hotel. Not only can traveling to foreign places allow you to live your life on a time limit (given by your presumed itinerary), you can also gain so much knowledge about how truly unique the world is.
Make every day a thanksgiving type of day
Expressing gratitude shouldn’t just happen on one given day out of the entire solar year. Why not make it something that happens every day? I can guarantee that there is something in everyone’s day that they can be grateful for. I don’t mind some mashed potatoes and family time, but the public display of thanks doesn’t have to be limited to the fourth Thursday of every November. Every day is worthy of reflection, hugs, and words to gratitude.
The world is as beautiful a place as you make it. Your attitude is key to your every day and your future plays out. Live today so that you have a complete tomorrow, even if it never comes. Learn for the joy of knowing — what’s happening in the world, why airplanes fly, why humans yawn. Knowledge and attitude hold so much power to influence our future paths, so build a foundation of wisdom and love for a future of fulfillment and awareness.
By Alice Yu
art by Alice Yu