Growing Older: Reader Essay by Joan Halgren

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

W2017_GrowingOlderJoanHalgren_Inline300 Oh, to be born wise! As I contemplate my life, I wish I had known the extraordinary importance of living in the present moment. We waste so many opportunities reflecting on the past or planning for the future and miss the joy of being alive now! Where would one be if they had plunged full-speed into doing what they really wanted to do in the moment instead analyzing the next best choice for their life? Is it fear of survival that prompts this madness or our economic system? Or just maybe reflection and projection is an ordinary aspect of the human species. But it can ruin one’s life—too much dwelling on the past and future can squash one’s existence.

The best times I have ever experienced were unintended—the beauty of nature, running into an old friend, not attending a boring meeting but instead creating a work of art. Our precious moments are too often squandered when we try to plan for a future that may never unfold. Why try writing a memoir about one’s life that will continue to keep one stuck in history? Let someone else write those stories so you can happily live this day.

- Joan Halgren (B.A. ’67), Red Wing

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