I start every Sunday by rolling out of bed and groaning at the load of homework that awaits me. On school nights, I shuffle home from cross country practice, eat, shower, do some homework, ignore some homework, and flop into bed, relieved but too drained to sleep.
I never question why. This is something that must be done, for the future. Because I must have six extracurriculars, seven rigorous classes, four leadership positions, and three hundred and ninety-two community service hours for the future, to go to college.
Every Sunday, I sleep in, but every Sunday, I drink my coffee next to the computer, where I pull up APUSH texts and English essays and new assignments posted on Edline. Sophomores don’t need to worry about this, I tell myself. But my words are drowned by the voice that whispers this is crucial. Because it is needed for me to be happy – in the future.
This Sunday, I woke up and drank my coffee in front of the TV while I watched Scrubs on Netflix and painted my nails. I didn’t open my planner, where the list of homework assignments couldn’t fit into the Monday slot. I let myself paint my nails vampire purple because it is relaxing. And these days, I never breathe. I gave myself that time to ignore obligations, and be happy now.
If happiness is fleeting, insubstantial, nothing can come of waiting for it to land on my shoulders in the future. But I still go to cross country practice because I love the feeling after a run, and I still do that homework because I want to keep my grades, but when the weekend comes and my alarm isn’t set, I will try to shake it all away — be happy now.