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    You have the choice to see it differently and to create a perception of your choosing

    Carter Steger
    The Badlands

    There are events in our lives which fundamentally change who we are. These things exist as trying difficulties and explicit happiness. Imagine someone becoming a parent, holding their newborn child moments after birth, or a phone call while driving home and you discover someone you hold dear has unexpectedly passed away. All of the physical sensations, emotions, and details of those moments are often captured with utmost clarity. They become forever preserved as memories.  


    Even though these events can be a source of great pain or great joy, there is a larger-more important- aspect to acknowledge. These events produce circumstances where there is not an ability to return to the person we were before. It is impossible. They create an earthquake in our existence at a fundamental level, forming a chasm of change.  


    The focus then should not be on the perceived value association. It does not matter if what happens to us is “good” or “bad.” What does matter is that one recognizes when an earthquake event occurs, a choice is required.  


    We cannot, and never will be able to, control the when, why, or how these earthquake events happen. Spending effort exhausting ourselves trying to force external circumstances into being our imagined, most ideal, circumstances is useless. It is critical that acceptance comes first. Acceptance that external events happen beyond one’s control.  


     Though, acceptance can grow irresponsible. Think of a day when rain is forecasted. You know that it will rain because the sky is filled with dark clouds, it smells like rain, etc. It hasn’t started raining yet, and your laptop is sitting under an open window. Instead of closing the window, you just accept that your laptop might be ruined. The rain begins and the window remains open, soaking the laptop and completely ruining it. Now you’re down a few hundred dollars and have lost several highly important documents.  


    The rain may have forced you to cancel plans of going to the beach or going golfing with friends. Perhaps you were really looking forward to those plans and were disappointed at having to cancel them, and now that your laptop is ruined the day is even worse. Whether it rained or not was out of your control; however, closing the window was. A simple choice would have prevented an unideal circumstance from becoming worse.  


    Like the rain, earthquake events are outside of our control; that is what we must accept. Therefore, the choice is how one responds when an earthquake event does occur. Doing nothing is certainly one option, but when a circumstance is difficult or unideal, the minimum someone can do is not manufacture more trouble for themselves. Sometimes that looks like physical action, like closing a window.  


    Other times, it is closing that window inside the mind. Avoid making a circumstance worse by complaining and letting thoughts spiral. That is something every person permanently has in their control. The rain can cancel plans, but it doesn’t have to be a horrible day. You have the choice to see it differently and to create a perception of your choosing.  


    The underlying theme here is change. Something which occurs constantly every second and every day, and these earthquake events are nothing more than a change that has more emphasis than others. A change for many that is coming up is graduation. Some of us will be saying goodbye to Viterbo and will enter into a new chapter. This is an earthquake event for graduating seniors and one that can feel stressful and be accompanied by high anxiety. But we have all been working towards this change over the last four years.  


    Change is often uncomfortable. It brings a cloudy uncertainty in which we must discover new routines, environments, and even social circles. After graduating, many of us will be moving to some new place, all while filling out applications for a job or graduate school. The places we go and the people we will be around will be different, and rather than be one of the elders we shall return to being a novice one more.  


    These changing circumstances are easy to fall into the trap of dreading; however, without change, it is impossible for anything to occur. Marcus Aurelius, considered the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome, had written, “Keep constantly in mind how many things you yourself have witnessed changes already. The universe is change, life is understanding.”  


    While change can feel difficult, it is through experiencing the difficulties of life which allow one to experience serenity with deeper appreciation. When an earthquake event occurs, understanding what is beyond and within one’s control allows for acceptance that change is occurring. The ability to change external circumstances is often beyond our control, but it is always true that the only thing forever in one’s control is how one responds. 


    When an earthquake opens on your current path, do not let it stop your progress, search, and choose to take the best route forward. Change is nothing more than growth in action.  

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    About the Contributor
    Carter Steger
    Carter Steger, Editor
    As an English-Education major, writing has always been enjoyable for me.
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