By Katrina Liu

What are you doing at this moment? Are you thinking about that test you probably failed in calculus earlier today, or are you thinking about tomorrow afternoon, when you can finally unwind and set your brain free? 

Whatever you’re thinking about, it is very likely that it’s not what you’re doing in this moment. 

There’s something about our brains that is wired to worry about the future or reflect on the past. Part of that is the productive culture of college, as it pushes us to constantly think about our lives after college. 

As students, we wonder about the professional opportunities that will come in our lifetime. We yearn for that dream job and lifestyle, whether that means having a family, travelling the world or more. We yearn for the day we see our family, friends and ourselves live the happiest moments of our lives. 

On the flip side, many moments in our daily lives may often remind us of past memories — bitter or sweet. Sometimes they bring up feelings of regret or longing. 

We long for simpler times when we had different problems to think about and when our lives were comfortable. We long for the friends we miss or have lost and feel nostalgia towards fond memories we made with them. As a freshman who is still adjusting, I often long for aspects of my hometown, which is certainly not as bustling as Boston. 

So, why is it so hard for us to live in the now?

Most of the things we do in the present are in preparation for the future. We try to live in the moment, but it’s incredibly difficult sometimes, especially when the present shows signs of treacherous waters. 

But I encourage you to try not to forget about the present. Something I’ve realized recently is we might regret not thinking about the present when we look back on it in the future. I wish I lived more in the moment this time last year. That time was a perfect example of something I’m trying my best not to do — long for the past.

Longing for the past is a cycle that is easy to get caught up in, but try not to. You don’t want to look back on your life and wish you hadn’t taken for granted the good — and bad — times as they happened in the moment.