Incumbent /ɪnˈkʌmb(ə)nt/

adjective 1. necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility.

With impeding chaos, crippling misery, and ever-so slimming chances of normalcy in our lives, it has become astonishingly difficult to remain goal-oriented.

Our lives are not normal.

With the many feelings being called for attendance in the classroom that is our brains, our passion for a marvelous life has been and will, for the time being, continue to be absent.

Our lives are abnormal.

On the evening of August 13, my friends and I decided to head up the mountains with the last bits of fuel left in our tanks to escape the mayhem and lack of air conditioning. There, we set an inflatable mattress, laid down, and watched what would be the biggest meteor shower of the year.

Once our eyes regulated to the darkness, we started looking around. To our fascination, Andromeda was, faintly yet clearly, visible to the naked eye. I grabbed my camera and snapped a bunch of photos, with the result above.

What can I know? What ought I to do? What can I hope?

— Immanuel Kant

Andromeda reminded me of something. It reminded me that amidst the light pollution and seasonal changes, it remains there, moving closer to its goal: impact with the Milky Way. It also reminded me that if I wanted to be able to see Andromeda, I had to take a step back from all the chaos and go to a place where I can detach from the surroundings—a place where it can shine. It is a resemblance of how I currently feel. Andromeda is the embodiment of my hopes and dreams. With the cloudy and shrouded paths, I must remember that my goal is still there as I etch, slowly but surely, closer to reaching it.

It is hard to see it when it is so far away. From now on, I will choose to live my life the way mountaineers conquer Everest: I will not look at the peak from below. I will look at my feet and focus on achieving one small step at a time.

The Andromeda Galaxy, the closest galaxy to ours, can be seen as a faint glow with the naked eye. Next to it is a much smaller dwarf galaxy called M110, a satellite of Andromeda.
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