101: The Future Is Now

101: The Future Is Now

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

The Future Is Now

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

~Anne Frank

I was a floater in junior high. I had no real clique or group, but I was friends with just about everyone. I was in band and choir, did theatre and played sports. I was happy just as often as I was sad; in short, I was your average American preteen.

Out of all of my hobbies, my favorite thing to do was make people laugh. I was very quick-witted and always had a quick reply for anything. While in junior high, I heard or read somewhere a phrase that I found quite amusing: “Don’t worry about the future, it’s already tomorrow in Australia.” The cleverness of this phrase attracted me, and I quickly added it to my repertoire of favorite sayings and quotes. Naturally, this phrase made its appearance in my daily life at school, as I wanted to share it with all of my friends, so that they too could enjoy it with me.

Gradually, however, new phrases came and took the place of this particular one in my daily life. It survived only as a vague memory that popped up occasionally when I thought of the future.

The summer before eighth grade, I was spending the night at my friend Veronica’s house. Veronica was one of my best and closest friends, though I had only known her a year. We ate pizza, watched a movie, and generally just hung out in her room. We stayed up late listening to music and talking. We even gave each other temporary tattoos by drawing on each other with permanent markers.

As the night went on, our conversations became more serious. We opened up to each other like only close friends will do. Veronica got out a journal that she occasionally wrote in, and offered to read some of it out loud to me. I felt honored that she trusted me. Veronica shared some of her deepest secrets, hurts, and dreams with me. I began to understand her more. I was surprised when she came to a new passage and laughed lightheartedly, as much of the journal was serious. She looked up from her reading and looked me in the eyes. “You’re in this entry,” she said with a playful glint in her deep brown eyes. I wasn’t sure what to think. It could either be really good or really bad. Noticing my apprehension, she resumed her reading.

Her story recounted a regular afternoon in choir. Before the bell rang and class started, she and I were talking. She had been frustrated with homework, teachers, and the drama in her life. She had come to me for advice about what to do. I had given her some to the best of my ability, and as the bell rang, I said, to lighten her mood a bit, “Besides, you don’t need to worry about the future, it’s already tomorrow in Australia.” She laughed and hugged me, like I had hoped, and we went to our seats.

I was smiling while I heard my dear friend read, but I still didn’t understand why she had recorded this particular day in her journal. It didn’t seem to me to be anything out of the ordinary or even worth writing down. She read on to explain. That day, in passing and without much thought, I had changed her world. That simple phrase about the future struck a chord with her. She told me that at that moment, I had given her one of her life mottos. “It changed me,” Veronica said. From that day forward, she made it a priority to worry less about the little things that came up in her life; she became a more positive, optimistic person.

Junior high ended and Veronica and I went to different high schools. We drifted apart slowly and eventually it got to the point where we hardly ever spoke to each other. She made new friends, and so did I. I bumped into her at the mall one day, three or four years later. We talked excitedly for several minutes about what was new in our lives, where we were hoping to go to college, and everything else we could think of at the moment.

As we were about to part and go about our shopping, she once again looked me in the eyes and told me that I had changed her life. My friendship and advice had made her into the young woman who stood before me now. Even though I was very young, I had made a difference. “The power of words is amazing,” she said, “and age doesn’t mean anything. It does not matter how old or young a person is, he or she could very well change the world as we know it.” I smiled when I thought about how young I still was, and how many more words I had left to say.

~Sarah Sawicki

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