By Madison Stumbough
Four days until the weekend. Nine days until Thanksgiving. 27 days until finals week begins. 31 days until winter break. 43 days until Christmas. 50 days until 2019 begins.
These are just a few of the things happening in the next few months I’m excited for, the things I’m counting down until. This short list doesn’t include the little things I count down to, like getting to hang out with my cousin and best friend on Friday, or the countdown until my favorite special is on the menu again at College Hill Coffee.
As I sit here and think about the things I’ve counted down for, I have to laugh. Often times, they were rather silly things. For example, I’m sitting here counting down until winter break, yet I have no exciting plans for that month at all. I’m not going on a trip or doing anything extra special.
If we’re being honest, I probably wouldn’t count down the days to as many things as I do now if it weren’t for how easy it is, because of course, there’s an app for that. My lovely countdown app sits on my home screen, reminding me the years, months, days, hours, minutes, etc. to all of the things I deem important enough to count down.
Sometimes I’ve wondered how this constant need to count down has an effect on the world, and I think this weekend showed me the negative effects of always counting down.
On my way back to Winfield on Saturday morning, my car broke down. I was only about seven miles away from Winfield. I quickly grabbed my phone and called AAA, then my mom. AAA said they were on their way and they would be there in about 30 minutes to assist me.
After talking to my mom on the phone, I hung up. I realized my phone battery was at a whopping 9%. Of course, it died within the next five minutes and I was stuck without any connection to the safety net my phone gives me.
This left me with nothing left to do but to count. I used my watch to count down the minutes left until AAA had said they would arrive. Each minute, I got more excited until the 30 minutes was up and help was nowhere in sight. I began to count how many minutes passed after the car was supposed to arrive and once I hit 10, I was left completely frustrated.
After a few minutes of frustration, complete boredom hit and I began to count cars as they passed, just like when I was a kid on road trips. I do think the accuracy was a bit higher on Saturday than it was when I was seven. As childish as it sounds, this became like a game and I was excited to count each time a car passed by. Eventually, the tow truck came and I arrived in Winfield after counting 125 cars and 22 semi-trucks.
Looking back on that time on the side of the road, I realize that living life counting down the moments to something doesn’t always allow me to be fully present in the here and now. When I’m able to look around and count the goodness in the world (even if the good thing is cars passing by), I’m able to live a life with much more joy.
Madison Stumbough is a senior majoring in liberal arts and sciences. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.