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Ben Hauptmann '24 — Finding joy in not just gifts, but your time with others

Ben Hauptmann '24 — Finding joy in not just gifts, but your time with others

All my life, college has always seemed like something that was far away that it almost didn’t even exist in my mind. However, in the last few years it has been inevitably creeping in. As with all change, a new chapter in one’s life will bring anxieties for the time being: where I may be going, what I may be studying, or who I will meet. It was not until early into my senior year when a new fear almost needed to hit me in the face for me to realize it. This fear I realized I had, was leaving my two younger brothers.

I realized this while I was spending the day with my youngest brother, Sam. My fifteen year old brother had been out of state at a lacrosse tournament with my parents, so I decided to make a day for my ten year old brother and me. It was very simple fun; we went to a diner for breakfast where he got his usual chocolate chip pancakes and got to ride in the front seat of the car to the restaurant. After, we went rock climbing, and I joined him as well as watched him have a blast, smiling ear to ear the entire time. We went home, played games together for hours more until the rest of my family returned. He told me that day that he was going to miss me. At first I was confused by this statement, when I asked him to explain, he expressed how he didn’t want to see me leave for college because days like this won’t happen very often. 

I think back on this conversation more and more. I think back not on the idea of leaving for college and missing my family, but the idea of how special that day was to my ten year old brother. I think back on the smile he had almost all day and the excitement he shared with me. I think back on how that is truly flourishing in joy. The joy that I felt that day, and more importantly, the joy my brother felt.

Every December, tradition invites us to all different joyous experiences. This Advent I challenge you to find joy in bonding with those who you love, those who you may not know, or those who you may have lost contact with. Find joy in not just giving gifts, but giving of yourself and your time. Whether or not college may be knocking on the door for you, take this opportunity that this beautiful season gives us and find joy in your own experiences and traditions, as well as in the experiences you give others. Focus less on the anxieties that the future may hold. Instead, slow down and focus more on the joy that the present offers.

The season of Advent is a joyous time where we are all invited to find joy in connections with one another. 

God answers all of our prayers with opportunity, may we seize this opportunity in The Advent Season to bring joy to ourselves and our loved ones.

Ben Hauptman is a senior at Fairfield Prep.