Editor’s Note

Seizing Serendipity


By Morgan Mercer

If you flip open the cover of my lime green planner you will see lists. Lists, lists, lists. E-mails to send, groceries to pick up, life dreams to achieve. These handwritten notes to myself are always long. And they never end. What can I say? I’m that person in the store who fawns over Post-It notes and fancy pens to help me make more lists. Spontaneity? Well, I have to pencil that in, too.

One summer while I was in middle school, my mom bought the soundtrack to the musical Rent. My sister and I had never seen the play or the movie, but the three of us spent sticky afternoons singing along to new favorites, like “Seasons of Love”.

525,600 minutes, how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee? In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?

When I need a reminder there’s more to life than vacuuming, working, and managing stress, I go back to those summer afternoons and let the words sink in. I want a measuring stick of love, awe, and wonderment—not to-do lists. It can be hard to take a break from the everyday tasks that clamor for our attention and simply stop, look around, and appreciate the moment we’re living in.

The other day I happened upon an old article from the Washington Post. Picture this. A world-famous violinist takes to the L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. to play for free. We’re talking someone who performs concerts where “pretty good” seats go for $100. Of the 1,000 or so people who rushed by, few stopped to listen.

Too often in life, we don’t choose to pause and recognize the beauty that surrounds us where we least expect it. This magazine will not only encourage you to make the most of the unexpected moments, but also inspire you to rethink your notion of time altogether. From a story on how inmates experience endless days and nights apart from society, to a look at how cultural norms of punctuality and productivity shape the immigrant experience, PAUSE will help you embrace each fleeting minute of your day.

So take a moment, sit down, and read the eloquent compilation of words and photographs our staff assembled for you. My hope is that it will inspire you to take a few more minutes to appreciate the little and big things in life that deserve your attention. Time is infinite, yet limited for each one of us. Make the most of what you’ve been given.