I am a planner.
I feel the most organized when I have things thoroughly planned out in detail for every day of the week. It’s why my dry-erase board calendar is usually full during the month, I currently have a TNTH Schedule for future posts, I just started bullet journaling, and I had two detailed outlines on index cards for my final research papers taped alongside my desk for the last month and a half.
Obsessive? Yeah, but in some odd way, it calms my worries about the short-term things that need to get done.
The long-term goals? Planning those things can actually create the worries you don’t want. I know for me, planning long-term goals are scary because things happen. Things change, interests change. For years, I dedicated my time to get myself more into the cinema scene; I took screenwriting classes to learn my craft and planned the next three years to study screenwriting and film in a graduate school specifically made for cinema. For once, I had long-term plans that I was working towards. But then life happened. I was rejected from the film school and I felt lost with my plans again.
Although I am in grad school getting my Master’s degree anyway, it still feels weird to not know what I want to do after I graduate. I start my second year in the Fall, yet I don’t have any plans after I finish. All of the people I encounter in grad school have plans of being teachers and such, but I know I was not meant for that type of job. I like English for the writing, not for the literature, and teaching English is dealing with the literature. If I can’t do cinema, I would want to do something solely dealing with writing.
The group of people I know and follow on social media tends to be people who are already in grad school, are graduating college in the next couple of weeks, or going into their last year of college in the Fall. One of the things we all have in common at these different levels in our education is that we all either have a distinct goal in mind after college, or we have absolutely no idea what we want to do. Until we all feel like we’re getting somewhere in life, those long-term plans for life are going to be at the back of our minds and make us worry.
And if you’re a planner like me, these worries turn into bad anxiety.
A couple of weeks ago, I was going through a major anxiety attack about everything in life. Literally, everything felt like it was crashing down. I spoke to my mother to talk the worries out and possibly get some advice to help me out. My mother and I have most of the same personality traits, and I needed to speak to someone before I considered talking to a professional. She asked me what were the things I was getting anxiety over, and as I was telling her, they all seemed to be about my long term plans.
As my mother was giving me advice, she told me to “live in the present.”
Many of us forget that the most precious thing we have in the world is time. We are never granted another day or another year, and I learned that after my Uncle passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. We also tend to worry and stress out about the future so much that we never see the beautiful and wonderful things happening now. I remember my undergrad years as being a time where time just flew by. I was going by each day with the objective in mind of graduating on time that I never really enjoyed my college life. It wasn’t until my senior year of college where I actually started to enjoy my school life and just life in general. Although it’s great to try to have your life all figured out and focused in, it’s good to also enjoy the things around you. Enjoy your family, your friends, the weather, your interests, and hobbies. Also if you have a ton of work that you need to do in the present, get it done so that you can move on to the next thing you have to do. Sometimes, the constant work makes anyone feel robotic. The reality is that whether you like it or hate it, it needs to be done.
All in all, it seems like “living in the present” is a statement that appears to be obvious and cliche, but many of us just forget to do it because as a generation of people in our 20’s, we always tend to focus on the future. Take a step back every once and awhile to enjoy the little things in life.