Living in the present

Leily Arzy

It is only natural to want a change of pace: to experience new things, try different foods and embark on adventures. More often than not, this desire to break with the monotony of our daily lives can be a great thing. However, when we allow ourselves, as I have, to become dissatisfied with the present in exchange for the promise of the future, it’s a problem. In short, I have become so preoccupied with the idea of going to college that it has become hard for me to be appreciative of and connected with this stage of my life: high school.

My feelings have much to do with the fact that I have spent my entire life in the same city with the same people. Because of this and other factors, I have a constant desire to leave, to be somewhere where people don’t know my nicknames and solely view me as the person I choose to present to them. At the same time, I am burdened by a harsh feeling of guilt for not taking advantage of all that I have right now. My greatest fear is that I will look back on my life in 15 years and realize that I wasted an incredible period of my life thinking about a different one.

It is not that I am ungrateful. I understand how truly lucky I am to be at a school like Harvard-Westlake with teachers like Kanwal Kochar, who will devote an ungodly number of hours explaining how addition works (don’t worry, that was a joke) or to have a cafeteria that serves food that is far superior to that of many restaurants.

Even so, why can’t I overcome my unsettled feelings and fully appreciate the life that I have right now?

It doesn’t help that I have lived my entire life thinking about the future; thinking about how every day’s performance will affect my future self, the future me applying to college, the future me getting a job. Instead of focusing on the present and concentrating on what matters right now, my mind is wired to think about everything but.

It would be easy to simply write these feelings off as a classic case of teen angst, but I know they are something more. I have complete control over the way I view the world around me, and, unfortunately, I have allowed myself to become comfortable in this dissatisfaction. I float by with little motivation, constantly dreaming of being somewhere else. I have no idea where I am going to college and yet, I am holding on to this foreign idea of my future, holding on to something that is nowhere near as tangible as my present. I need to change my mindset and take the time to actively appreciate what each stage of my life has to offer because, otherwise, this attitude will follow me at every point in my life.

So, with this column in mind, I have been trying to and will continue to take advantage of my life at Harvard-Westlake. Although this environment is an incredibly stressful one, I cannot make this an excuse for my desire to flee. One day I will have a career, bills and many other responsibilities, so I need to find a way to be happy in the most stressful of environments — even Harvard-Westlake.

I won’t pretend that I am no longer excited for college, but I have vowed to learn that being excited about the future is very different than living in the future.