I think it’s in our nature to be concerned about the future – it is one of those things that humans can’t control, so naturally, we really really want to understand it, predict it, and shape it. The reality is that the future, for the most part, is completely out of our hands and obsessing over it or spending too much time worrying about it is not a healthy way to operate.
It’s common to hear people say ‘be present’ or ‘live in the moment.’ Both sentiments I agree with and definitely appreciate. That being said, how can we ask quarter lifers, who presumably have so much future ahead of them, to completely embody living in the moment? As a young person, it’s hard to dismiss the fact that you have a whole life ahead of you that society expects you to set yourself up for. With navigating relationships, a career, education, and a home, the things on most quarter lifers’ minds regard the future in some way.
I think there’s a balance to be found between living for now and thinking about the future. I’d argue that enjoying the process or journey into the future is similar to living in the moment, but at the same time there is still a moving journey that you’re on and you are hoping to land somewhere you anticipated. To put it simply, make sure that you enjoy the process of getting to where you want to be and don’t put yourself through hell just for an end result. That way, living in the moment feels good.
In regards to worrying less about the unknown future, it takes a combination of hard work, detachment, and faith. Pursue your dreams and goals with passion and dedication. Give the path you’ve chosen your full energy and commitment. After a road of hard work, you can look back and know that you gave it your all. And know this even if things don’t work out.
That’s where the detachment comes in. Detachment from outcomes is so key to happiness and resilience. I don’t mean becoming complacent about how well you do but instead, prepare yourself for an undesired outcome and create self talk that will nurture you in that moment. Your mind is powerful enough to soften the blow of failure – you just need to practice detachment without letting it negatively effect your commitment to the process. If detachment is something you want to get better at, consider coaching as a tool to get you there.
Lastly, have faith in the universe and faith in yourself that you’ll know what to do when you get there (to the future, that is). Don’t miss out on what is happening right in front of you while you search for answers to the future that will never reveal themselves. You can’t predict if this is exactly the right college program for you or if this girl is your ‘soulmate.’ Practice sitting with the unknown, recognizing it and moving forward anyways.
Let’s face it, if we knew exactly how things would unfold, life would be boring. If you want good things to come as a surprise, then some bad things will have to catch you off guard too. Don’t question your resilience! Humans are such strong, brilliant creatures. AND in the moment of disappointment, your life might seem like it’s totally wrecked but time has a funny way of healing and in ten years you’ll look back to smile at your youthful self and either wonder why you were so concerned or marvel at how well you made it through.
Remember that you are worthy and beautiful!