Remember to stop and smell the roses

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Becky Swig

We are always looking towards the future: looking for the perfect high school, college, job, spouse, apartment and so on. We always say that we work now to be happy later.

But when do we actually live? When do we actually live in the moment without worrying about the future?

I’ve been saying that I need to work really hard, so I can do well later. I just have to study all of the time, but once I get into college, I’ll be happy.

But here I am, in college, working harder than ever.

I tell myself that I am doing this so that I’ll thrive later, that I’ll have a great job, a family and everything else I’ve wanted. But this is an ongoing cycle.

Throughout our entire lives we look ahead. We look for an elementary school that will get us into a middle school that is good enough for a college prep school, so we can get into the best university possible. We play sports, so we could potentially get a scholarship or do extracurriculars to build our résumé.

Everything we do seems to be for our future. Yes, we do enjoy some of what we do, but we also know that it looks good to be doing it. A lot of what I’ve done is to get me somewhere else. When I look back at high school, there are definitely times when I’ve done things solely to get me to where I am today.

There is no shame in that, I just wish I had  lived in the moment more without stressing about what I need to do later. Working hard is a great thing, but taking time to live in the moment is also important.

Even now, when I am hanging out with my friends, I still have this constant to-do list going in my mind, and guilt starts to overcome me as I think that I should be working harder. I tell my mom that there is always something I could be doing academically. When I am just hanging out, I am planning what I need to do later, so I am not 100 percent in the moment. I know that I think we all need to work hard in order to be successful and happy later on, but I should also be happy now. When I was in high school, “later” was being in college. I can’t keep pushing off when it is time to start being happy.

I do need to be focused on school, but I also need to enjoy being here and to not let it pass me by. This semester has already gone by so fast, so I need to take a step back and live in the present.