On Living

Modern day society dictates that we should live our life to the fullest and that we should make the most out of what we do. We want to achieve all of our aspirations in life. Each of us strives to work harder than anybody else. Delays are unacceptable. Laziness cannot enter the picture. Procrastination is a crime! Why bother thinking of doing it tomorrow when you can do it now? In this modern generation, it is indeed easy to be busy. According to studies, society has gotten into a frenzied state of addiction. People are now in pursuit of money, power, success, self-satisfaction, and self-fulfillment in pace quicker or faster than ever before. The idea that we will fall behind if we stop moving forward or even pause for a bit powers this addiction. In fact, this is reflected even in modern day technology. These innovative advances are supposed to empower creative thinking. Unfortunately, the massive inflow of information has disintegrated our consideration for deep understanding and creativity. Individuals have less time to ponder over anything as they end up getting overwhelmed by the need to act, to be constantly doing something. The adverse effects of technology are evident nowadays especially concerning human relationships. Instead of enhancing close associations, people tend to avoid face-to-face contact and are constantly on their technological devices. We are slowly losing our empathy. The essence of living life to the fullest is now drifting away. Depression is rampant because people correlate happiness with success. And by success, we closely associate it with getting something to happen the way we want it to happen. The truth, however, is that success is ephemeral in all areas of life. The familiar scent, reminiscent of a new automobile will eventually fade. The new smartphone will be supplanted — sooner, as opposed to later — by a further developed, sleeker, lighter, and better one. Somebody more creative, more grounded, or more intelligent will in the end come and beat your record or replace you from your position. Success in a real sense is relative. It is a personal disposition and can be self-defeating at times. Why? It is because we tend to pursue the temporal things and equate it with our own standards of success. In addition, this is exemplified by the media. It defines success as having that brand new car, that high job position, that significant level of power and influence, that certain kind of body figure and so on. And achieving these so-called accomplishments give us a sense of confidence and self-satisfaction. However, on a deeper level, this arouses frustrations, resentments, and envy because it feels like we are always trying to catch up. The happiness we feel when attaining these things is slowly replaced by the fear of the unknown, the fear of what will happen next. This vicious cycle goes on if we continue to chase down false objects of happiness and success. Lao Tzu once said, “If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” In this era, people are vying hard for about anything of value in the society. The level of competition is very high as well the stakes involved. People will not settle for less. This is indeed true; we want the best out of everything. Thus, we give our greatest in all the things we do in order to acquire the best. We strive to keep up with the standards of the world. Achieving our endeavors in life does not come without hard work and sacrifices. But one thing is for sure, we do not sacrifice today for tomorrow. Moreover, these are the two questions that we might as well ask ourselves. Are we really living in the present? Or are we living for the future? In my opinion, we should have a positive response for both of the said questions. We are not only motivated to act for the betterment of our future but also for the present. For me, this is an example of getting the best of both worlds. We get to prepare for our happiness of tomorrow without sacrificing our joy of today. So how do we exactly live in the present? The answer lies in the mind of every person. Being more conscious of the present is the key. Being aware of life as it happens is the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. Cultivating mindfulness gets you to places. When you are mindful of the future, you get to plan ahead and prepare. Same is true when you are mindful of the present. Also, when we are living in the latter we are also living in acceptance. We accept life as it is now and not as how we wish it would have been. Therefore, it brings us peace and happiness. The only constant thing in the world is change. Thus, the power to create change can only be done in the present rather than the past or the future. Consequently, we should begin to take the lead in initiating positive changes that will enrich ourselves and the society. Live in the now and live for the future!

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Jane Doe

Aspiring writer, budding linguist.

Cape Town, South Africa