Its seems more and more that I am living my life in a perpetual state of counting down. And I hate it. I count down the days till the next assignment is due, to when I go home next, to the next big event, to the one year anniversary of our world falling apart, to graduation, to the unknown. We are so trained to be forward-looking, to always be planning, to always be one step ahead. But I fear that I am looking so into the the future that I am not fully here in the present.
I feel it when we’re all on the bus. Everyone with their earphones in, avoiding eye contact, in our own little worlds, dreaming about future romances and career breaks. We pass by each other mindlessly, carrying on these fantasies in our minds. No one stops to have little conversations anymore. The days of approaching a stranger because he was handsome or because she was listening to a song you really like, I fear those days are behind us.
When I was in high school I used to day dream all the time about my future. About how fabulous is would be when I had lost twenty pounds and was incredibly successful, maybe famous even. How all of my classmates would react to seeing my face on tv; how good it would feel to finally show everyone what I could do. I fear that I am going back to that mindset. To the sitting and waiting and wishing for the future to come so I can finally prove my worthiness. So I can show the world what I am capable of. I forgot to stop and take the time to appreciate where I am and how I got here and all that I’ve done to get here.
Graduation looms heavily… for all of us. The pressure at times is unbearable. The sense of competitiveness quite frankly is exhausting. And the fear of disappointment and failure is greater than ever. I wake up in the middle of the night worried about application deadlines. Seriously. I apply and I keep applying, to whatever, regardless of whether it is really what I want or not, for the sake of applying. For the sake of being able to say I’m doing something regarding my future. I’m looking forward, or at least I am trying. I guess this post is in a sense a way of being honest with myself about what I really want out of these next few years of my life.
I’ve always done everything by the book. I took all the right steps, joined all the right clubs, got good grades, made good professional impressions. But the reality is that sometimes you can follow all the rules and still not end up where you want to be. And thats a tough pill to swallow. What I want more than anything is to get away. Maybe for a couple of months or even a year. France. Spend some time as an au pair, while taking french classes at the university. Discovering who I am and what truly makes me happy. Having a love affair with a foreign stranger. Writing everyday, more than I have time to now. Breathing, really just taking a second, a month, a year… to breathe. To reflect on life. To be in the present. And then maybe when I get back I’ll know for sure what it is I’m looking for. Maybe I won’t. And if not that is ok.
I spend too much time thinking of where I want to be, who I want to be, that I never stop to consider who I am.
One of my favourite movies of all time is About Time. In it the main character has the ability to travel back in time. By the end of the movie he stops travelling back in time all together, because he finally realizes the beauty in the simplicity of everyday, ordinary moments. The ordinary is not the enemy, and there is something incredibly liberating about accepting that.
“We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride,” he says, “And in the end I think I’ve learned the final lesson from my travels in time; and I’ve even gone one step further than my father did: The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”
I hope to continue to do the same as he. To try and live each day more aware, more present, more grounded. Less worried, less stressed, less busy. I don’t need to be famous, or rich or successful by the traditional measures even. I want to be happy. It really all comes down to just that. And the first step of that, for me, is beginning to love the life I live, each day and every day, regardless of what it may look like.