Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

At my high school there was this super-intelligent kid. He is hands down the smartest person I've ever met. He only went to school with us for a few years sporadically. He had some mental issues I never really understood that plagued him constantly. I haven't heard from him forever, but I hope wherever he is, he's doing okay.

Because he wasn't with our grade all the time and got held back he didn't really have any good friends at school. A lot of times at lunch I'd see him sitting by himself and I'd join him, because I've been that kid before. Plus I always loved our conversations. I considered myself a smart kid, even when I was younger, but he always had a different way of looking at things that I loved. His perspective was different from anyone else I'd ever met. We'd talk about everything, often times something spiritual or religious in nature.

During one of these such lunch talks, I remember saying something about looking forward to the weekend and how swamped I was with school. I said that I just couldn't wait for the weekend to relax.

As usual, his response surprised me. He said that he avoided trying to live his life by looking forward to tomorrow. He said he looked forward to today and not the future. He didn't want to always be looking forward to what tomorrow had in store. Like most highschoolers, I had been living my life for the weekend - a time when I could hang out with friends and forget about school.

For some reason his comments have been floating around in my head lately. Work and school seem to pile up into a mountain of to-dos each day. The beginning of each week turns into "if I can just make it to Friday" thought.

And I'm not alone.

Most of my fellow college students are the same way. We look forward to the parties, getting drunk, and not going to class. We look forward to tomorrow at the expense of today.

But tomorrow won't always be there. It's easy to think tomorrow will be better than today. But, honestly, it's usually not. Tomorrow will always bring more to-dos and more lists to accomplish.

When I was young I couldn't wait to be able to drive. When I could drive, it was being a senior. Then it was graduating and going to college. Now it's the weekends and not wanting to be in school. Then it'll be getting a good job. Then marriage and a family. Then when the kids move out. Then a middle life crisis. Then the first grandchild. And what then?

Retirement? Old age? Death?

This isn't how life is meant to be lived. In my sobriety following the arrest, this warped view of life hit me like a cold shower. For pretty much all of college I've been looking forward to the next party, the next bottle, the next binge-drinking night with friends.

You shouldn't have to wait for tomorrow to have a good time and love life. Happiness is not something that can only be found on the weekends. So much of what you make out of life is the mindset you have rather than the circumstances around you. Tomorrow will always bring more obstacles. And if you ever reach a point in life where you've caught up on everything, then your apathy has far surpassed your ambition.

So no matter how busy you are, give yourself something to look forward to. Even if it's just reading a good book or watching your favorite TV show. Have lunch with a friend. Go for a walk. Anything that makes you happy. Give yourself something to look forward to each day so you're not always waiting for the next day. Don't gamble your happiness and sanity on tomorrow.

Because tomorrow won't always be there. And what then?


This isn't how life is meant to be lived.

1 comment:

  1. read this last night, and have been thinking about this today... I'm not happy in moments, only in analyzing them. That needs to change.