“The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”
― Thomas S. Monson
I think one of the most difficult concepts for people to truly grasp is learning how to live in the moment. While our past and future are important in shaping who we are and what we strive to be, we need to sit back and realize that we are missing out on all the opportunities of today. The fact is that your present was once considered a distant future to your childhood self and in just a short while it will be your past without you even realizing it. (Scary? I know.)
Enjoying the present is so crucial because these moments carry us through our days. When I was 14 I longed for growing older, moving away, and living on my own. I wanted to be an adult so badly that I missed out on all the important milestones of growing up and enjoying the last few years of childhood. When it was finally time to go to college and I uprooted my life and moved across the country, I couldn’t believe the fact that I was never going to be living in my parent’s house again. I spent my entire first semester confused and regretful of how I dealt with the past 5 years of my life. I would look at pictures from when I was twelve and think “When did this happen? Last time I checked I was in seventh grade…” The sad reality is that I let time take hold of me rather than me taking hold of time. It didn’t catch up to me until I actually left home, where I spent 5 months regretting my past. Essentially, I was just wasting more time focusing on anything and everything except for the present.
In regards to our past, we often find ourselves pondering about our regrets. “I wish that I hadn’t done that” or “If only I had treated them differently.” It is important to learn from your past so you can move on and grow as a person. However, do not sulk in your failures because you are only inhibiting yourself and bringing yourself down. When you spend ample amounts of time regretting things you have done, you begin to miss all the good things that are happening right in front of you. When it comes to our future, we constantly find ourselves striving to plan for what will happen to us tomorrow. While it is important to think of what comes next, it can actually hurt you in the long run if you are spending too much time stressing over this. “What will I do after I graduate?” “How much money will I be making?” “When will I settle down to start a family?” Yes these are important, but, while you are daydreaming about having two children by the age of 24 and becoming a millionaire, you are looking straight past all the goodness of today. In order to get to tomorrow, remember that you must successfully finish today. We put too much emphasis on what our life will look like in twenty years rather than what our life already looks like today.
What I mean by “live in the moment” is that you should experience new things and enjoy being the age that you are while you are the age that you are. For most college students this is the first time that you are on your own and have the freedom to make your own decisions. So don’t waste your time thinking “if only I were still young…when I had no responsibilities and stress,” and don’t waste your time thinking “I can’t wait to have a job in the real world…where I will make a great salary and start a family.” There are vital things to learn in college, and this transition from childhood to adulthood is one of crucial importance.
So I challenge you to enjoy your life and enjoy the people around you. Take a day, remove technology and social media from it. Go on an adventure, laugh with people, travel somewhere new. Dance in the rain, go on a camping trip, make homemade pizza, or fall asleep in a field of daisies. Remember that everything you have will some day be gone so cherish everything while you have it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Its not about rewriting your past, and it’s not about finishing your life as the most superior being. It’s about the crazy, eventful moments of both hardship and fun that have taken you through this crazy thing we call life. I leave you with one simple idea— enjoy these moments before they become memories.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson