“Stay present.” The clichéd reminder that many say is the the key to clarity. It’s written on inspirational Instagram posts, viewed as an easily achievable state of mind. But through many attempts, I feel that staying present is one of the most arduous things I could possibly do.
I have been told countless times that it is an important aspect of a happy life. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to reach that mental state; disregarding the past or future is extremely difficult for me.
I believe it is so challenging for us high school students to stay present because we are constantly reminded of our futures; practicing for standardized tests, applying for college, and eventually, leaving home to begin a new chapter of our lives.
Since first grade, we incessantly have been preparing for what’s to come once we throw our graduation caps into the air. Every day builds up to our futures, so how can we refrain from constantly pondering on what lies ahead?
I struggle the most with staying present when walking in the halls at school; between classes, I seldom tap into my inner-thoughts or feelings while watching the apathetic faces of students plodding along to their classes, because I stubbornly refuse to concentrate on a place that makes me feel unhappy inside.
To combat this strong negative emotion that hangs in the atmosphere of high school, I instead think about the amazing moments that are yet to come. By focusing on the future – filled with mystery and excitement – instead of the dismal moments of high school – filled with stressful studying and angsty dejection – I am desperately attempting to make these nine months a bit more bearable.
However, I do not think that blocking out the unwanted reality of high school is a permanent solution. That is why I am continuously attempting to find grounding in the moment because that is what will ultimately make me happier.
While walking in the hallways a few days ago, what I found is helpful is to realize that each person is struggling as much as I am. We all are imagining our lives after high school and attempting to block out the realities we wish not to face.
And, perhaps, this is staying present – understanding that we are all a whole, inching our way through our classes, trying the absolute best we can – because that is a reality I can understand.