Illusions of the Future

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Some say that we are living in the future. I say that we need to live in the now.

Our society is obsessed with the future. We read jaw-dropping dystopian fiction, constantly over-prepare ourselves for what may be, and promote items by describing them as “of the future”. Children look up and see planes leaving trails of exhaust through the sky, and know that somewhere even farther away than that plane is a satellite floating in space. Some say that we are living in the future. I say that we need to live in the now. Preparing for the future is not a problem-- in fact, it is vital if we want our descendants to be able to survive on this planet. However, if we’re constantly planning and calculating and staring wistfully into the sky, we forget what should be important to us in the moment.

People use the future as an excuse to ignore the present. Constantly looking towards the future can result in putting off important tasks, ignoring major life problems, and depending on things that may never happen. As kids, we are told to appeal to a school, pick a job, and plan a life. We complete work and listen in class because we are told it will “prepare us for college”. We focus on what our lives should be like, someday, but not now. Very little effort is ever put into the present. What if, at any point, someone changes their mind about who they want to become? They wouldn’t even notice, since they’re always looking forwards and occasionally back.

Getting stuck in the future is especially common in schools. There is a focus on college and careers, both of which are important to an extent. However, when every class is chosen for the purpose of getting into a good college, and every night is spent grinding through homework from said classes, kids often forget that their lives are passing by. They miss opportunities to make memories that will last a lifetime. In school, we learn for the sake of passing, not for the sake of knowledge.

Another point is that those of us who let ourselves be carried to a time that hasn’t occurred yet tend to allow things to pile up around them. Since the future is such a reliable concept, they can wait until later to do that important paperwork, or put off making dinner for the family with the promise that they can “handle it later”. Some see the future as milliseconds away, and others consider it to be years. It does not matter how you see it, as long as you don’t let yourself get trapped there.

The truth is, if we’re not living in the present, we’re living in an illusion. No one really knows what will happen in our futures, so why spend your life in uncertainty? Every once in awhile, take a step back and observe the world around you. You may be surprised by what you see.


Submitted: January 30, 2017

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Good essay. There's a new trend called mindfulness that practices living in the present. I think as humans we look ahead to the future as a survival mechanism - preparing for winter, savings for the future, etc. - but hopefully one can do both. Enjoy the present while planning for the future.

Mon, January 30th, 2017 1:59pm

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