Live In The Present To Build Your Future
It is easy for people to feel lost at some point in their life’s journey, to feel uncertain of their life goals and ambitions. Especially as teenagers and young adults, we are bombarded with societal pressures, as well as self- expectations, that can make us feel as if we have no idea what we are meant to pursue in life or what our next move should be. I think we have all been in that situation where we have relatives ask us, “So are you planning on going to college?, What do you want to do when you get older?, Do you have a significant other yet?, Are you going to become an accountant just like your father?” All these questions regarding the future can make us feel so unsure about ourselves and can even make us scared of what is to come. Well I am here to tell you that not knowing your very next move in life is OKAY. In fact, it's more than okay….it's quite normal and allows you to take on opportunities with an open mind, rather than being closed off to certain situations you may think are not suited for you.
Figuring out what we are “supposed” to do in life can be a challenge; but, don’t let it scare you into not trying things that you are unsure about. Don’t be afraid to take chances, fail, and learn from unfamiliar experiences. For example, you may feel pressured to choose a certain career path just because you are “expected” to follow in your parent’s footpath or take on a family-owned business. Yet, at the same time, you may have a small interest in a field that is completely different from your family’s pursuits. You may not even be interested in any field that warrants a college degree at all. Lets say your father is a successful lawyer, but there is something that has always drawn you to cooking and you have begun to think about pursuing a career in culinary arts. Do not blindlessly go to college and major in something like criminal justice just to please your father. Instead, maybe hold off on college until your desires become more clear to you. Find a culinary program or summer cooking course you could enroll in to see if this is something you are interested in pursuing. Sure, this may not seem to be the “standard” path your family expects you to take; but, you must remember: this is your life and you must create your own happiness from the things YOU enjoy. Thus, do not take a path because it is already carved out for you; rather, create your own path in the present moment and don’t be afraid to take certain turns that may lead to unfamiliar, yet intriguing roads. Even if this path does not end up working out, you will have peace in mind knowing that you have tried. You will no longer have to think, “Well, what if I tried that... Would I have enjoyed it? Would it have led me to something else?” Further, you will still learn something about yourself from this experience; in essence, when we figure out what we don’t like and the activities that are not meant for us, we are one step closer to finding things that truly excite us.
Keeping all of this in mind, when feelings of uncertainty and confusion arise, do not panic; I assure you that creating a state of alarm and worry will only adversely affect your thought processes and won’t actually solve any of the future dilemmas you are thinking about. In these moments, one thing I think is important to ask yourself is, “What do I enjoy in life?”. Now, I don’t mean to ask yourself what your deepest passion is and what is the one thing you enjoy so much that you intend to devote the rest of your life to. I simply mean, “What do you like? What makes you smile? What are your hobbies?”. When we take the time to acknowledge the small things we enjoy and the simple moments that we cherish, we come to learn a lot about ourselves. Understanding what we like can help us paint a better picture of who we truly are, and what we are truly passionate about. Instead of focusing on what is to come in 5, 10, or even 20 years….focus on the present. Being present in the moment only helps to build our future selves. It is impossible for one to verbalize in a given moment where they will be in ten years, or the activities they will enjoy, or even the foods they will like in the future. Life is a dynamic journey that we cannot plan for: people change, our interests shift, and unforeseen circumstances arise.
So now I ask you again, “What do you enjoy in life?” Do you enjoy reading? Baking? Playing sports? Going to the movies? Collecting coins? Listening to music? It could be anything. Just acknowledge one thing in life that gives you a sense of peace, happiness, and comfort. Now once you find this joy, I encourage you to do more of this activity, whatever it may be. I think you will be surprised at how much you find yourself to enjoy life more and your ability to appreciate the present moment. In finding this small pleasure and living in the moment, you will actually be actively building your future, rather than aimlessly worrying about what is to come.