We, as a generation, or maybe even a society, spend a lot of time looking to the future. I believe that a lot of that is beyond our control. From a very young age, children are asked what they want to be when they grow up.
Children are always playing house, classroom and other games that they act as adults. As children get older, they begin taking personality tests and career tests in 7th and 8th grade, to start preparing their minds. Then in high school, students are bombarded with this constant question of what they’re doing with the rest of their life. They take classes about careers, they take tests to show them what career would be best for them, they have meetings with school counselors about their future, they plan their classes around what they want to do after high school. Then they move on to their university or college of choice, and within two years of basic courses have to have an absolute decision on their major by their 3rd year.
It seems crazy to me!
How can a twenty-something, or younger, know what they want to do for “the rest of their life?” They can’t! We can’t know what tomorrow will bring, let alone 20 or 30 years. You could have a gaggle of children, and a stay at home parent. You could be the bread-winner for your family. You could still be single. You and your spouse could both work full time. You could be diagnosed with a fatal disease. You could have a child with a disability. The list goes on and on, of things that we can’t plan for. Sometimes life takes you on an adventure that you least expected, and we miss all of the adventure. We miss the lessons we could have learned, and the sights we could have seen.
Not only are we constantly looking and planning for years in the future, but we are constantly living in the future. Wishing for this, hoping for that and planning for all things in between. I know, it’s a difficult habit to end, and often times I don’t think we realize what we’re doing.
This trip has helped me to realize how much time I spend planning for the future, and completely miss present moments. I’m so focused on an end-goal that I lose track of what’s really important, right now.
Teaching children really helps to realize this. As an example, one week in Honduras, I was teaching about jobs, and when I asked the meaning of “chef” in Spanish, one of my students raised his hand and said “Mami”. I was so focused on getting them to the end-goal of understanding what these jobs are, that I almost didn’t stop to enjoy the moment.
Moments come and go so quickly. I’m not sure what the solution to the problem is, or if there even is a solution. Is it possible to fully live in the present, while still having a grasp of the future? I believe we need to have a rough idea of our future, and having goals is important. I also believe that we miss too much of what is happening around us because of our own plans.
What moments have you been missing, and how can you truly live in them?
Have a blessed day!