When I was in high school, our school motto was carpe diem. For reasons I can’t remember, I never took that motto seriously. I guess in my teenage mind, I had all the time in the world. I also believed that opportunity would come by me as I grew older. I believed that destiny would guide me and lead me to my inevitable ascent. I waited in futility for my time.
Meanwhile, my day-to-day life in school was miserable. I had no trust or respect for the teachers, I hated most other teenagers and simply wished to skip ahead into adulthood. I spent entire days daydreaming about all the things I would do once my time comes. I rejected reality and thus squandered my golden youth. Today, I can count with one hand the number of days I actually enjoyed my life during middle school, high school, and university.
And of course, my opportunity never arrived and destiny led me nowhere. By the time I was in university, I was utterly dejected. However, instead of trying to start anew and make an effort to turn things around, I took refuge in computer games. It wasn’t until later that I realized my mistake and quit computer games to correct all the errors of my life.
To be sure, I have been making some efforts to change myself since high school. Although they were often perfunctory, they showed that I at least had the desire to make things better. For the last few years, I’ve been taking self-improvement much more seriously than ever before, yet something still feels lacking. I know for a fact that I’m much more wiser with better self-awareness than my previous self and in comparison to most other people, yet life continues to feel empty. It seems as though all my struggles are in vain—but why?
The answer is that I always seem to be looking ahead into the future instead of enjoying the present reality. I had failed to seize the day as my high school motto imparted. By focusing my attention to the distant future, it didn’t matter if I was distracting myself with daydreams and computer games or obsessively trying to improve myself, the days would always be dissatisfying.
To enjoy your life, you must focus solely on the single day that you have. When you wake up in the morning, live every day as though it is a new life—it’s a chance for you to notice new things, have new experiences, and to connect with people.
Don’t wait for things to get better before you decide to enjoy. Most people fall into the trap of telling themselves, I’ll enjoy life when I have the money… I’ll do it when I have the time… I’ll be happy when…
Of course, this does not mean that you live carelessly without discipline or concern for the future. No. It simply means that you enjoy the things you have now even as you are working for a better future. If you can’t appreciate this current moment of your life, you will never be able to appreciate anything that may come in the future.
Don’t wait and procrastinate. Your day is all you have. Everything before and everything ahead of you only exists in your mind. Your current reality is the only reality.