I definitely spend a lot of my time living in my head. It’s not that I don’t ever find enjoyment in the present moment, because I do. It’s just that relative to the time I spend dreaming, I spent little time really being present. It’s something I’m trying to be more conscious of. Like right now. It’s 1:14. I’m sitting on a comfortable couch in the library common room next to the Starbucks, sipping my coffee and
doing my orgo lab report blogging. My mind is wandering. To the med school presentation I attended yesterday. To my plans for the future. I get unreasonably excited for “the future”, as though it’s something tangible.
The proverb “Today is the future you thought about yesterday” sums it up. The future isn’t really anything more than an idea. The only thing that’s “actual” is the here and the has been, and the only thing we can change is the here. That’s not to say goal setting isn’t important, because it is. We find personal meaning in something to aim for, and I think that’s important for everyone.
It’s what we do today that brings us closer to achieving those goals. And that’s the thing. When I dream, I’m usually intending on setting goals. For example, some of my life goals include traveling the world, writing a novel, publishing an indie album, writing a cookbook, learning to speak five different languages, achieve my ARCT in piano and achieve a black-belt level in Taek Won Do. Professionally, I want to go into clinical research in reproductive and metabolic endocrinology, as that’s an area I am deeply passionate about. Ultimately, I want to help people lead healthy lives with a focus on preventative, proactive measures rather than reactive measures.
To do these things, I have to take steps, and while I spend my time thinking about my plans or dreaming them up, I’m not really doing what it takes to get there. I spend so much time procrastinating. For world travel, I’ve been doing quite well – I spent last summer in Fiji and I have an internship set up in Tanzania, Africa (fingers crossed!) for this upcoming summer. I have been working on a novel for years now (it began with an idea a friend and I had in the sixth grade, and has since become something I feel like I *have* to get out of me sooner or later). As for publishing an indie album, that’s kind of more of a loose idea, but I play piano and sing and my brother and his friends are excellent guitarists/bassists/drummers, and I think it’d be so fun to record an album made up of covers and a few originals. Those last two are “just for fun” projects. 😉
As for learning languages, I speak English and French fluently – next up is Spanish, Italian and probably German, motivated by the fact that I hope to spend the first semester of my fourth year studying abroad in Europe (more points to the world travel plans!). I’ll likely take Spanish courses next summer. For my ARCT in piano – I have my grade 8 piano certification, but I haven’t taken piano lessons in a year and a half. I really need to get back into that. And as for Taek Won Do – I haven’t done Taek Won Do in about seven years, but I loved it and would love to get back into it again.
I guess I kind of feel like I’m “overreaching”. I set so many goals based on the things I love doing, but the reality is that I don’t have time to complete all of them. Not right now, anyways. My main function is that of a student. I’m doing a specialized degree with another major alongside, and so my course load is manageable but somewhat heavy. I work part-time, and may be getting a second job (which would be very fun! Details to come) and a volunteering job (I finally found an organisation that I feel would be a good fit for me, details also to come 🙂 ). Then there’s the social aspect: I want to spend time with my family, with my boyfriend, with my friends. I want to have time to read novels and blogs and practice for band and do homework and possibly sleep, eat, and take care of basic personal hygiene. Cleaning my room is an added bonus (no really, it rarely gets done – I know I’m not the only one who *never* makes the bed, but I feel like that’s probably something I can take five minutes to do). 😉
Not to mention that while I’m spending time procrastinating, I’m not accomplishing anything to work towards my goals. I should really be doing my orgo lab report right now, because I need to get good grades in my courses in order to get into post-graduate programs and due-dates aren’t usually flexible (and come with heavy penalties when they are). And despite all that, I know it’s also important to take time to relax – and downtime is a lot more relaxing when you know you’ve actually gotten things done.