Forever is composed of nows.

“But what about after the summer? What about college? What about the rest of your life? 

She shrugged. “What about it?”

“Aren’t you worried about, like forever?”

Well, aren’t we all… Aren’t we all consumed by the idea of the “future?” Everything we do is meant to help us later in life. Schools, for example, were meant to prepare us for the next step, whether it be moving up a grade level or training for a job. Me training for the entire season for a few important races is meant to ensure/better my “future” performance. Me washing my clothes tonight so I don’t have a load of laundry to tend to when I get home tomorrow. We have become obsessed with the idea of “tomorrow” and how doing certain things today will eventually lead to our ultimate future success. But what if there is no tomorrow… What if today was our last day…

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I recently finished “Paper Towns” by John Green, a book I had picked up for SSR. To be completely honest, I was not so impressed with the title/cover of the book and was quite reluctant to read it. I was confused by the title of the novel and assumed that it would be just another boring book. I decided to give it a chance after I discovered that the author was John Green, one of my favorites. I found myself carrying the novel everywhere, reading it in between my classes and whenever I had free time. I definitely recommend this book for teens my age who are interested in novels that deal with teenage emotions and the up and downs of relationships/drama.

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Paper Towns” revolves around two main characters: Quentin (known as Q) and Margo who as we discover, are secretly in love with one another. They grew up as next-door-neighbors and shared countless childhood memories. Both characters soon found their place in society and from then, rarely associated with one another. Margo was the “it” girl at the high school and became known as the “Queen B.” Quentin, on the other hand, was seen as the nerd who spent time with the geeky band people. He admired Margo from afar and day dreamed about their imaginary relationship.

One night, Margo snuck into Q’s room in the middle of the night and proposed a list of eleven things she had to complete, including seeking revenge on her best friend who was sleeping with her boyfriend and breaking into SeaWorld. She had Q help her, which he was reluctant to do, but ended up doing anyway. One of the highlights of their adventure was Margo showing Q the town from the SunTrust Building. They stood in the conference room looking down at the town and sighting every single place they had been to/passed.

“It’s more impressive,” I said out loud. 

“From a distance, I mean… You see the place as someone once imagined it.”

“Here’s what’s not beautiful about it: from here, you can’t see how fake it all is. It’s a paper town. I mean look at it, Q: looka t all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that in on themselves… All those paper people living in their paper houses,  burning the future to stay warm.” 

After their mini adventure, Q was so amazed by what he had accomplished that night in so little time and became more aware of his other reckless/dangerous side. He grew more in love with Margo and was constantly thinking about her and their adventure.

The next day, Margo did not show up at school and Q was curious about what happened to her. He was looking forward to being able to say hi to her again and talking as if they were friends… as if they had just went on an little adventure together and were now closer than ever. After a week had passed, Q and Margo’s family and friends were worried about her. She had not returned home and did not warn anybody of her leaving. According to her mom, Margo was known for leaving subtle clues that hinted towards where she was going. Q became obsessed with the idea of finding Margo and spent his time reading poems and books and listening to the records she had left in her room.

After couple weeks of research and a twenty-one hour car ride, Q finds Margo in Agloe, a secluded town with a population of zero. They are both shocked to see one another and curious. Q was happy to see that Margo was alive and was ready to taker her home. Little did he know, Margo had planned to leave home, move to New York, and start her own life…

“Aren’t you worried about, like, forever?”

“Forever is composed of nows.” 

Isn’t it true, though? What we do today will ultimately affect us tomorrow, either helping or hindering our ultimate success. Isn’t it better to work towards accomplishing something NOW, rather than focusing on what we can achieve later? The future can wait…

-Michelle Doan

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