Why The ‘Future’ Is The New Swear Word For College Students


The other day, and frankly this happens often, my boyfriend and I who go to school five and a half hours away from each other were talking on the phone about the future. This might sound cute like “Aww they want to get married and they want to be together forever,” but this is not the kind of future we talk about. He talks about his goals and ambitions, which are monstrous, but that’s just one of the things I love about him. What’s even more awesome is that I have no doubt that he will successfully achieve each one of the goals that he has made at some point in his life.

But then I wonder, what does that mean for me? Where does that leave me? Since I came to college my ambitions have become bigger and a much larger part of how I choose to live my life each day. It affects what clubs I want to be involved in and how involved I really want to be. It affects how hard I try in my classes and how late I stay up cramming for an exam I have the next day. And as big as these goals are (trust me they’re pretty big), I have never been more scared to death in my life. The one part of my future that I know I want and am willing to work so hard for, might not want me to be a part of theirs. But what if it does? These are things we can’t know until they happen, but they are also the things that we obsess over. This is exactly why “future” has become a new swear word, at least in my book.

It is so easy to get caught up in the future and forget to live right now, in this moment that you will never again relive. Each day we need to try to remind ourselves that we are still so young and we still have so much life ahead of us. So what if it doesn’t go exactly according to plan? We get so caught up in the little details of how we want our lives to be that we don’t realize all of the opportunities that we haven’t even encountered yet. All of the people we have yet to meet and all of the jobs that we didn’t even know existed.

I believe in perfection. This sounds a little bit snobby when I say it out loud, but this isn’t the kind of perfection that you’re thinking of. There have been periods in my life where I sit back and I think about how I wish things would stay like this forever. This is perfect. Of course as any writer knows, perfection is only placed in a story to create a canvas for some climactic change. Something that creates unrest in the seeming perfection that we are living in. Take it in. Stop longing for the past and yearning for the future. Every successful person in this country has dealt with and owned their fair share of imperfection. When the time comes and you have taken advantage of every opportunity and you are happy, then perfection returns and it’ll make you feel things that you have never felt before.

The future is a scary and limitless thing, one that can keep you from pursuing your dreams, and most definitely something that can keep you from being happy. Don’t let it. Since when have you ever let a swear word define who you are and how you live your life? It’s great to look ahead to the future when making decisions right now, but don’t start making every decision based on what you’ll want in the future, because things could and will change. In fact they are always changing. Yesterday my favorite food was crab legs and today it’s chocolate.

Be limitless. Instead of only participating in activities that will impact your future, do something that genuinely makes you happy. Take a guitar class just for fun and sing in the shower. Give love freely without pretenses instead of holding out for some hope of a future together. You might not be able to put it on your resume, but in the future, I guarantee you will look back and think, “man I’m sure as hell happy I did that.”

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