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The Beauty of Looking Forward

By Zoe Clarke, 2nd year Bio/Music student

When I grow up, I want to be a ___________ (insert super-cool-most-likely-unattainable-potentially-involving-magical-powers-job-here). This phrase has been said by probably every small child under the age of 10. It seems like when we were younger, we just had this beautiful ability to see the glory in what waited next for us around the corner of life. We didn’t worry about the struggles it would take to get there (I mean, it can’t be that hard to become a superhero, am I right?)

So when did this all change? Why, all of the sudden, did our future turn from glorious to grim? From daring to dismal? From brilliant to barren? Why don’t we picture ourselves as these incredible people that we still have the rest of our lives to become, and instead are cowering under the fear of hot, sweaty exam rooms, and assignments that break your wrist? These images seem rather… well… scary! They certainly don’t make you look forward to your next day of class.

So what can we do on those difficult days when it’s just so hard to get out of bed and the day is just too intimidating to face?

Perhaps the key is to keep looking ahead – but let’s look past those textbook readings and assignments that you feel like you can’t possibly finish. Picture yourself in 5 years. Where are you? Are you taking part in a biological research project in Antarctica? Are you published in a well-read newspaper? Are you sitting on a lake with your parents having a picnic? Let me guess – your future image of you doesn’t depend on the mark you got on one 10% paper.

Unfortunately, it can be so easy to blow up little tasks and assignments into such huge deals to worry and stress over. I can’t say I haven’t done it myself! But all too often, we let our homework get the better of us, and it starts affecting our overall health and well-being – our happiness. But it doesn’t have to. Let’s get ourselves out of this loop of worry, shall we?

It all starts with one step in the right direction. Divide that huge assignment into smaller chunks and work until your first checkpoint. Bang. Check! There’s one less thing to worry about. Now schedule in 10 pages of those text readings (not the entire thing, mind you), and put a break at the end to chat with your friends. Check! There’s another task done! Get into a routine of doing at least an hour of homework before your first morning class. Check! There’s a task accomplished already and the day has hardly even begun!

Now look at that – you didn’t get every single thing done, but breaking down some of those large, scary tasks into chunks and getting them under control sure did make you feel on top of things, didn’t it? In fact, you’ve probably even got enough extra time to schedule into your evening to go to swing dance club or go watch a movie with some friends! And there isn’t a single drop of guilt involved.

This is where you let go of some of that unnecessary stress and worry. Every time you pick up a boulder, you don’t have to drop it on your toe, – (please don’t drop it on your toe!) – but, you can instead start chipping away at it and carve it into something beautiful. I mean, the process will be long, but you can dream while you’re at it. Please let yourself dream! Dream about your cool future job. Dream about the look of your shiny new degree hanging on your wall. Dream about exploring the world! If you’re feeling stressed, dream about a time where nothing you’re doing right now will really matter that much, because it will come eventually.

Fill your dreams with hope, love, inspiration, and excitement – rediscover the beauty of looking forward.


Photo courtesy of Lane Pearman under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0