Why I Stopped Living for the Future and Started Living in the Moment

“Live in the moment.”

We hear it in lyrics. It’s quoted on Instagram and preached on talk shows. Most of us, I would venture a guess, believe in the abstract notion of living in the moment.

But truth be told, society has taught us the opposite. Don’t spend your money; save it. Don’t eat that now; you’ll regret it later. Don’t waste your time with frivolity you enjoy. Put your head down, work hard; it’ll pay off in the future. 

“Live for the future. Make all your decisions with the future in mind.”

So being the goody-two-shoes, rule-follower that I naturally am, I took this advice growing up. I prepped for the future. I made major, life-changing decisions based on my “plan,” not my current situation.

This meant I was constantly disappointed—devastated, even—when what I expected didn’t come to be.

The starter house that I bought based on the hypothetical family my then-boyfriend and I would someday start together… which became too big for one person after I broke up with him.

The man that promised me I was the one, betrayed me… shattering my fairy tale forecast.

My dream job, the place where I wanted to rise the ranks, where I was known as a rock star… laid me off.

Let’s be real. The more you daydream about the future, the sooner the rug gets pulled out.

(FYI, this all ended up for the best… but at the time, I was so invested in the hypothetical it was much harder to accept the actual.)

The real today vs. the unknown future

Now, I live in the here-and-now. Today, tomorrow, this week, this month. I very rarely ever plan farther ahead than a month or two.

If you were to ask me where I see myself in 5 years, I’d laugh. It’s just such a preposterous thought. I could literally be ANYWHERE. I could be alone, or coupled up. I could be employed, or not. I could live on another continent. There’s absolutely no way I could guess.

And I don’t need to guess. I’m happier not guessing.

Instead, I face each scenario as it comes along. Why worry or dwell on the future when a single choice or unexpected event can send someone careening in another direction? All we can be sure of is the moment in front of us.

As my sister-in-law says, “Let go and let God.”

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