Living for today because tomorrow is far away in my mind

Opinion by EllaPlank

“I don’t have a study hall I’m on Diversity Board I did Debate. I’m an Ambassador I balance all this stuff, and I think this situation has really helped me ground myself in the moment.” Elizabeth Nguyen ’25

Instead of asking myself, “what am I looking forward to this weekend?” I ask myself, “how can I live this day to the fullest?” I used to constantly focus on the future. It wasn’t just “I am looking forward to it being Friday tomorrow.” 

It was “I am looking forward to spring break, which is only 182 days away.” I put my mind on something so far in advance and told myself if I could make it to that moment, everything would be fine. Between those 182 days, I only focused on getting to that point in my life. I never embraced what was happening in the present moment. I was so concerned about the future that I was not truly living my life.

It wasn’t until September of my junior year that I realized I did not like living this way. One day, I woke up and it was like a spark went off in my mind. I decided to make a complete change in my mindset. I am now focusing on the present and only the present. The future is now something that does not come across my mind.

Cartoon by CeciUrbanski

At first, it was weird, but I adapted to this change quickly because of the happiness it brought me. September of my junior year, I felt the most content with my life I had in a long time. I enjoyed the exact moment I was experiencing. Now it wasn’t “I can’t wait until school is out for the day.” I simply was living in the moment, laughing at a comment my friend made during physics class. 

Now after having this change of mindset for more than a year, I have realized the immense amount of joy it has brought me and also the connections it has given me. If it wasn’t for this shift, I would not have decided to talk to the person next to me while waiting for class to start, and would have done my homework that was due the next day because I was so caught up about my future.

“I think focusing on the now makes me happier since focusing on the future makes me overwhelmed.” Ellie Brabec ’25

Now I walk into a class excited to talk to my friends, instead of worrying about what I just learned in math class. Those graphs are a problem for a later time instead of when I am walking into journalism class. Obviously, there are times I have to focus on the future. For example, applying to colleges and my future career, but I try not to focus all my energy on those things. Instead, I cherish the time I have left at the stage of life I am in. 

This realization of living in the moment and focusing on the present has completely changed me for the better. I am happier, more free spirited and spontaneous because my mind is not set on what I am doing tomorrow; instead it is set on how I can make this exact moment the best it can be.

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