Trenton Smedley delivers State Sentinel’s Retiring Address

Just Another Day

34184260354_560cd48d69_oTake 1: DING! DING! DING! DING! The sound of the alarm clock startles us awake, we reach out, press snooze, roll over and fall back asleep. DING! DING! DING! DING! Here we go again, hit that snooze button one more time. We go through the process again and again for the next 30 minutes. We roll out of bed, stumble to the bathroom and barely make it to school on time. It’s Monday morning and Friday cannot get here soon enough!

Take 2: DING! DING! DING! DING! We roll over, turn off the alarm and sit up as we stretch our arms to the sky. The sun shines brightly through the window and we hear birds happily singing in the trees outside. We throw off the covers and our feet hit the floor with a thud that announces: “It’s Monday morning and I am ready to take on the week.”

If you are a Take 2 Person every single Monday morning, Congratulations! But, chances are the letters on our snooze buttons have been worn off from us tapping it so often. Why do we waste our time wishing for the weekend? Why can’t Monday be just as good as Saturday or Sunday?

Perhaps the reason we despise Monday so much is because it is just the beginning of a long to-do list. After going to college this fall, I discovered that there is always something on my list that needs to be done. The to-do list is never empty, even when I go home to see my friends and family. On one of the few trips I made home, I was sitting in the living room with my cousin and his four kids. Knowing that I had a test coming up, a group project that I needed to work on, a workshop that I needed to write and homework that wasn’t going to do itself, I planned on leaving after a few minutes. Before I got the chance, the kids got the great idea that I should take them to Sonic to get some ice cream. After the first three times, they ask, I tell them, “No! I have stuff to get done.” But they continue to ask again and again. Eventually, I cave and agree to take them. As we drive, we jam out to all their favorite songs and laugh until we run out of breath. While we wait for our ice cream, I join them on the playground and race through the equipment and down the slide. It was simple, it was silly, but because I finally agreed to enjoy the time I was able to spend with them, I made some of my favorite memories. In that moment, I accepted the fact that I was not Trenton the College Student, or Trenton the Future Professional—I was Trenton, the big cousin. Now, every single time I’m home, I tell them yes. I say yes when they want to go to Sonic, when they want to go to the park and when they want to take a ride on the four-wheeler. There will be a time to do my homework, the time for me to graduate will come, and in time I will land my dream job, but the time for me to live will always be right now—whatever moment I am in.

When we accept who we are, where we are, when we are there, we truly experience what it means to live. Don’t wish your days away. It is great to have goals. Imagining going to college, landing your dream job or moving to a different place is perfectly ok. However, it becomes a problem when we get so wrapped up in planning our future, we forget about all that is happening right now. If I had been too focused on my own goals and my future, I would have missed out that day. The time will come for you to move, go to school and apply for that job. Be patient and, for now, be content with being a student. If you play sports, be satisfied with being an athlete. Be happy to be an FFA member and, most importantly, just be yourself. Accept who you are right now at this very moment. Think about your life. In what ways have you sacrificed the time you have now, your chance to truly live, in an attempt to chase things that will have a time of their own? What memories, experiences, smiles or laughs have you said no to? Don’t get so caught up in looking forward that you forget to look around. So often we see our goals as the weekend and the journey to them as Monday-Friday. Stop dreaming about Saturday, when today is a perfectly good Wednesday.

I recall a particularly special day in my life—the state powerlifting meet. After competing in the squat and bench press competitions that morning, I approach my final lift of the day—the clean. The lift that will either make or break my performance. I am in the running to win the state powerlifting meet and have the opportunity to tie the state clean record in my weight class and if I do that, I will break the overall weight record. Meaning that if I mess up this lift, I forfeit my right to not one, but two state records. No pressure, right? For those of us who aren’t familiar with how a powerlifting meet works, each lifter gets three attempts to lift as much weight as possible, with their highest lift counting towards their total weight for the day. The state record for the clean is 335 pounds and I start at 315 pounds, with a plan for my second lift be 325 and my final lift to be 335, tying the state clean record and breaking the overall weight record.

With the weight loaded, the judge calls my name and I approach the bar. I wrap my straps around the bar, getting more nervous with every second that passes. I set my feet, take a deep breath. Stand up with the weight. I thrust my hips forward, get a big rock, throw the weight up, drop my hips and force my elbows out in front of the weight, stand up with it and drop the weight back to the floor. Whew! Step 1. Check!

I announce the weight for my second attempt, 325, which will tie the overall weight record, and once it is loaded, step back onto the platform and get a steady grip on the bar, just as before. I breathe in deeply, get the weight off the floor, thrust my hips forward, throw the weight into the air and fall forward as the weight falls back to the floor. I didn’t get it. Frustrated, I contemplate what to do? Do I go for more weight? Or do I settle? I have one minute before I have to make a decision. With my heart pounding through my chest, I talk it over with my coaches. They tell me, “ Trenton, this is your last chance. It is your moment. You have a chance to make it great and to make it memorable.” Determined to make my moment, I tell the judge to go ahead and put 335 pounds on the bar. They load it and I step up to the weight. For the last time, I squat down, wrap my straps around the bar and squeeze it tightly. With my stomach in knots, I grit my teeth and stand up with the weight once more—the final time. I rock forward, grimace, toss the weight into the air, drop my hips and push my elbows through, balancing the weight right in front of my chest and stand up with it as I let out the manliest, most-deafening roar I can muster. I did it!!! I hug my friends as they shout and look around to see my family cheering me on and my little cousin beaming with pride on the front row. This is one of the greatest days of my life!

Everyone, take a moment and close your eyes with me. Got them closed? Good! Now, think about an exceptionally great day that you have had. Think about the weather, the people around you, what made it a great day? What specific events made this day so darn great? Alright, we can open up our eyes now. It’s funny how we remember the smallest details of our great days. Whether that be the smile on someone’s face, the smell of the air or the sounds that surrounded us. These days are especially memorable because of moments, instances, seconds.

When I won state powerlifting, I remember my heart beating in my chest after setting the record, I remember the sound of my friends laughing and cheering, I remember seeing my cousin Trevin rush through the crowd to get a front row spot to watch each lift and I remember the smell of my team’s victory dinner at Golden Corral. I remember this great day because of the moments.

We remember our graduation day because of the moment we walked across the stage. We remember the day we won that huge game because of the way the crowd cheered once the buzzer sounded. We remember the day we got our first car because of the way the steering wheel felt in our hands. Throw away the calendar because life is not measured in years, months, weeks or even days; it is measured moments.

Every day is made of moments! That means that every day can be a great day because each and every day has a moment that can be made special—a moment that we can remember. When we choose to be fully present in those moments, we can make every day the best day of our lives—whether that day is Monday or Saturday.

Some people may say that the best year of your life is always next year and that the best day is always tomorrow, but they’re wrong. The best year of your life should always be this year, the best day always today. And that is because the only way to truly live is by accepting the moment we are in and making this moment our own. There is a difference between being alive and living. We can be present in the moment and make every day the best day of our life, or we can simply exist. Do not waste time wishing for the future; just live. Appreciate the moment you are in and take advantage of it! Fall in love with being alive!

I am just taking it all in right now. This moment is what I will remember about today. Today is the greatest day of my life, but then again, so is every other day!