Recently, I read this article on Facebook called “Why I’ve Stopped Focusing on the Future Me.” It's almost miraculous that it made its way onto my feed (clearly a sign from the powers above me). After reading this perspective piece, I felt immediately relieved. Not just because I could finally set aside all of these internship and job applications, but because there are people who understand just how difficult and draining it is to attain future “perfection”.
I’ve always had an unhealthy obsession with perfection. Ever since the hash tag #goals movement stemmed from social media a few years ago, I’ve stopped at nothing trying to fulfill those titles for myself. When I’m not reaching these goals, I lack more and more self-worth. I dream about my future and the kind of person I will be more than I think about past or present moments. It’s a bad habit. I can sit in bed and think about how I’m going to be successful and rich in my mid-twenties with an EQ3 furnished penthouse in San Francisco, jet setting between London and California and professionally exploring for National Geographic's new feature on Greenland's Aurora Borealis. But in all seriousness, I spend ample time looking for new internships, jobs, and resume builders to jumpstart my career. At the same time I'm placing a 4.0, fun social life and fitness among other self-fulfilling priorities. The author hit close to home when she says, “No matter how successful we have been to date, there is something in the back of our minds telling us that we need to do more, say more, be more, lean in, lean out, break through the glass ceiling, live the perfect “Pinterest” life.” My idea of a good, fulfilling day is a long run, at least 2 more submitted job applications, and study sessions until I feel worthy of myself (or feel like passing out). I check Gaucho link and Indeed.com more times a day than I check my Instagram. It’s exhausting. Spending your life trying to perfect your life isn’t living.
This article makes a good point that I need to remind myself: “We shouldn’t see ourselves as big projects to be worked on, big mistakes to be fixed. It’s hard to snap out of it, but we really should be focusing on how wonderful we are now.” The only way we can break away from our obsession with perfecting ourselves with the future is to feel confident about who we are now. Not only are we damaging our self-perception of ourselves by constantly working toward obsessive goals, we are also wasting present moments by focusing on the future. I need to start doing things out of pure love rather than prestige.
Setting goals for ourselves is important. Just make sure the next time you're scheduling future plans for yourself, you leave generous time for appreciating the present people, present moments and your present self.