As the end of the year both welcomes us with open arms and looms over us with obligations, visions of summer dance in my head. No sigh of relief will be greater than mine as I hear the crisp sound of a freshly opened can of lime La Croix seltzer on a soon-to-come summer day.
I know many of you may be off put by my longing for La Croix. One may compare drinking a La Croix to eating Fruit Loops with your eyes closed and nose plugged. The magic is gone; It’s more so the idea of a flavor that convinces my brain that a $4 sparkling water adds as much value to my life as it drains from my bank account.
To me, drinking a La Croix is like waking up from a dream of drinking a nice, juicy mojito in Costa Rica only to awaken and realize that all I was truly tasting was the saliva that woke me up in a dehydrated panic. That is La Croix to me. But while objectively lackluster, the potential leaves me eager to return to my mojito-filled dream.
As I have come to appreciate the transformative experience that La Croix offers my taste buds, I’ve come to realize that La Croix may have a lesson or two to teach us. (Side note, I wrote my Lehigh application essay about oatmeal, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I am analyzing a food/beverage yet again).
It’s not uncommon for me to find myself in my own imaginatory mojito-filled world. It would be great if everything in life was like a nice drink on the beach, where it isn’t too hot or cold and the UV index is just right to get that rosy glow. And when I find myself staring at my computer screen at unfinished statistics problems, sometimes this longing for something better is all that seems to make it worth it.
As I prepare to study for finals, I gaze into the screen, holding back the urge to create another procrastination playlist.
“Once I finally have a job in the real world, maybe all of this will actually be put to good use. Maybe I will even be able to afford a nice solo vacation,” I think to myself.
But in reality, most of my finest moments just need a La Croix in my hand and “Mamma Mia” on the screen. While I have no complaints with my treat-myself nights, it’s not always what dreams are made of.
It is in these simple moments: a late night conversation with a friend, perfectly cooked tofu or seeing my dogs after a long time after worrying that they would forget who I was, that I realize that the uncertainty and stress of these years is exactly what we need.
As the end of the semester wave hits me, I most definitely feel like a watered-down version of myself. Scrambling to finish it all on a good note and soak up every moment, I worry that I myself will become diluted. So in the spirit of self-preservation, I dabble in mental teleportation. Instead of fully absorbing the routine, I daydream of when my La Croix will become a mojito by the ocean.
Right now, as I take a sip from my cup, I can’t quite pinpoint exactly what its flavor is. Grapefruit, lime, orange? I’m not quite sure what I want it to be, and maybe that’s exactly what I need. If I continue to work toward the life that I want to create, every day more and more flavor will be added to the mix, creating a can of La Croix that nobody has ever tasted, not even me. We all owe it to ourselves to take the time to let the flavors in our cups develop.
Because at the end of the day, I’m not a mojito by the beach. I’m a nicely chilled can of La Croix who is still figuring it all out. And maybe the simplicity is exactly what we need at this stage of life: Sparkling water and a movie can slow me down just enough to remind me that right where I am is just fine.
Going into our last few weeks of the year, I hope that we can all remember to soak up all that surrounds us, both the glamorous and not-so-glamorous — the studying, the see you laters, the running out of meal swipes (maybe just me), the final finals. Instead of wondering where this will all land me in five years, I would rather look up and realize that these are the moments that I will thank. I will thank the times where I felt a little watered down or washed up and instead, be grateful that they led me to my full potential.
There will always be something on someone else’s menu that makes our mouths water, but sometimes we forget that we have our own drink to serve. And if we continue to invest in ourselves and appreciate where we are, the sips will only get better and better each time we close our eyes and taste it.