I was in the car driving back to Lehigh with my family when we saw the big fluorescent green exit sign with ‘Scenic Overlook’ printed in white block letters.
Just off the side of the highway, there was a tree covered road that seemed to lead to the top of a hill to offer what must be a breathtaking view of the valley below.
My mom then commented about how if we had enough time, we could stop and drive up to the scenic overlook. I remembered seeing this sign once or twice before. It always caught my attention and I remained curious about just how scenic this overlook was.
We would’ve gone, but we were in a rush, so this plan was immediately deemed unreasonable.
This routine has become a sort of tradition for the Pomerantz family. Each and every time on our way back to Lehigh, we pass the alluring and larger than life Scenic Overlook exit sign, briefly consider visiting it along the way, and then conclude that we are in too much of a rush to actually act upon our ambitions.
We decide that we will drive up to the scenic overlook next time when we have more time. Next time turns into the time after that, and the time after that and the time after that.
It’s not that we don’t want to see it, it’s that we don’t have time. That’s what we tell ourselves, anyway, knowing fully that if we really wanted to see the scenic overlook, we would make the time.
Way too often, we deprive ourselves of the simple pleasures in life. It seems as if society is in a mad rush to get from destination A to destination B in the fastest way possible, and too often, we end up missing out on life’s scenic overlooks. We are generally so focused on our long term goals and aspirations that we often forget to indulge ourselves in life’s little pleasures that happen by living in the moment.
Even at Lehigh, whether it’s taking 15 minutes out of my day to lounge on the UC front lawn or walking on a stroll to the North Side, I tend to convince myself that there is no time for these simple yet beautiful pleasures.
Instead, I can be found shuffling from class, to club, meeting and back to class with what seems like no break and no opportunity to sit back and clear my thoughts. At this point in the semester, days and weeks have almost merged together into one monotonous blob of scheduled activities. I can’t remember the last time I sat on the front lawn for the simple enjoyment of being outside on a beautiful day.
We have to break this cycle and get back to doing the little things that we truly enjoy and the things that remind us that we as humans have a sort of obligation to explore and treasure this little place we call Earth. Things that allow us to sit back, put our life and our aspirations on hold for a while, and just absorb the fleeting moment.
We must stop at the scenic overlook. Yes, in the long run, the stop at the scenic overlook may not turn out to be a pivotal or mind blowing moment, but right now it represents a break from the often tedious cycles of everyday life.
One of my favorite quotes is from the book Le Petit Prince by Saint-Exupery, and it reads, “l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux,” or “what’s essential is invisible to the eyes.” Although running from classes to clubs and activities may appear great on a resume, or to the eyes, it is still essential that we get to do things in life for the sole purpose of enjoyment. These are the little things that too often go unnoticed, but serve as a time to relax, reflect and simply absorb your surroundings.
So visit the scenic overlook, hang out on the front lawn, and go to the coffee shop and enjoy your drink, instead of feeling badly about the fact that you didn’t bring along your homework. Just enjoy the time. The feeling may be invisible to the eyes, but it is still an essential and mind-clearing component to fulfill our lives.
No matter how mundane life may seem, we have the ability to shape it with the simple, yet enjoyable experiences. So make the time.