This I Believe

Greg - chester, New Jersey
Entered on September 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that people should live in the present. Too often people look forward to the future for various reasons, but it is so vitally important to keep one’s mind and body in the present.

Growing up with an older sister five years my senior I always wanted to be older, to catch up to her in age so that I would be seen as an equal. I desperately wanted to be able to do the things that she was able to do; go out without the accompaniment of my mom, drive a car, and eventually go to college. I wanted to grow up and partake in all of these activities, later realizing that I was wishing away my childhood. More recently it has occurred to me that I spent far too much time thinking about getting older instead of simply enjoying the present. Yes, being able to live alone and taking care of yourself are fun and worthy of looking forward to, but just because you have something to get excited about does not mean you should forget about the joys of the present.

Living in the present also allows us to make better decisions for the future. Blindly following ambitions for the sake of having direction is a common problem that many of us suffer from. My cousin wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps her entire life and become a lawyer. She was pre-law in undergrad and never even thought about other majors or career paths. She was living out the future she had planned for herself, all without ever having actually lived in the present by taking a second to evaluate her decisions. She decided law school was not for her after less than a year. My cousin missed out on opportunities in other fields and alternative careers because she was too concerned with not deterring from her plan for the future, she refused to live and react to the present.

Greg Anderson wrote “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” It is extremely important to have goals and develop plans and strategies in order to achieve these objectives but we frequently look to far ahead to the conclusion of these goals instead of the steps we take to get there. Many times we are so focused on achieving these aspirations that we never stop to enjoy the ride. My senior year of high school my basketball team had one goal, to win the county tournament at the end of the season. The entire season that was all we talked about and practiced for. Before I knew it the tournament had come and gone. Although we achieved our goal I was upset at the fact that the season was over we had not lived in the present. We did not take the time to step aside for a minute and simply enjoy the journey.

The present is now, the future will inevitably come in due time, but do not rush it along, this I believe.