Be Present



Have you ever been given a piece of advice that resounds within you, one you come back to and ponder again and again? The kind of advice that catches you off guard as you go through your day-to-day motions, with subtle hints of its existence popping up unexpectedly when you aren’t looking?

When I was thirteen, my swim coach casually imparted upon me a simple piece of advice that has resonated within me through the years and has kept me focused, “Be present.”

Be present.

In today’s age of distraction, no one fully lives in the moment because, as high school students, we’re caught up believing that the next moments in life will be better or more important than the ones we’re currently living.

Be present.

By using our time and energy for what’s happening right in front of us, we avoid wasting our time trying to control our future. Ultimately, by staying in the present, we won’t feel let down by unfulfilled expectations of our future.

Be present.

Instead of spending time analyzing events of our past or having regret for mistakes made in the past, we should enjoy the life we’re living without comparing the “right now” to past experiences. Events that happened last week, last month, or last year, should not define us. Should we learn from them? Yes. Should they shape our future?  No.

Be present.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t consider our future at all, nor am I saying I’m not thinking of my own future. In fact, there’s a certain comfort that comes from being future-oriented, in planning things out ahead of time. On the other hand, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t evaluate our past, nor should living in the present deny the value of our past. As high school students, we must remind ourselves that our lives are not defined solely by past successes or failures, nor is our future set in stone.

Be present.

Overall, my life is made up of all the extraordinary moments I’m living now, and by enjoying the journey of my life happening “right now”, rather than spending my time worrying about my past or focused entirely on my future, I am living life presently and embracing the advice I was once given, “Be present.”


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