Living in the future isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I like to imagine that one day I’m going to wake up and life is going to hit me in the face.
I imagine good things will just come my way. I envision in my mind the way my year will go, the way my week will go, and even the way a party I’m attending will go. In my mind, my year, week, party, etc. all go amazingly well and life-changing things happen.
I have this problem where I think that each school year will be the best year yet, I’ll have a spicy romantic fling, go out with my friends all the time, and stay on top of school work. Of course, very quickly when school starts I’m faced with the intense workload, the fact that my friends all have their own lives, and the reminder that I’m not really a huge partier, and I feel disappointed because my year isn’t living up to my expectations. This disappointment can sometimes lead to irrational sadness.
Of course, once winter semester rolls around I’ve adjusted to my life back in Kingston and the reality of what I actually want out of my life. I feel perfectly content and happy again, I hit my stride and the sadness I felt in September vanishes like a ghost.
That’s because I actually am very content with my life, but I get bogged down by the fantasies of the “perfect life” which don’t actually match up to what I enjoy, maybe that has something to do with Instagram and Snapchat and the way they portray everyone’s life as a never-ending party.
If you look on those social media apps it makes you think everyone else is living the dream except for you, and it makes you assume that what you see is the truth of life, and as such, it influences me to think that what I see on Instagram should be reflected in my own life.
Despite this insight into my irrational projections onto the future as I look into my third year, I still fear the return of the disappointment and sadness. I can still feel my mind conjuring up idealistic scenarios for the upcoming year, and while positive thinking isn’t necessarily bad I know now that in order to not feel disappointed when my projections don’t come to fruition I have to view my dreams of the future as just that-dreams. They are not a roadmap for how my year will actually go.
My solution is to live in the present because while the future is an exciting prospect it’s no use trying to predict it. I no longer want to wait around for life to happen, because it won’t, instead, I want to work on making the most out of each moment.
I don’t mean you should never think about the future. Always living in the now isn’t a sustainable life model, but it is important to check in with yourself every now and then. This allows you to learn how you really feel, not how you think you ought to.
So, for my third year of Queen’s I’m going to focus on living in the now, because living in the future—it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
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