DI Voices | The struggle of never being content

By Megan Harding, Columnist

I remember when my family was in the process of moving. I was in fourth grade; my favorite part was touring houses and daydreaming about what my own house would look like someday.

I wanted a cozy, old-fashioned brick bungalow with a front porch, an oval door frame and loads of charm on the inside — totally different from the modern two-story suburban house my parents settled on. 

Throughout middle school, looking at houses on Zillow was my escape to an alternate world where I was grown up and my life was coming together — the total opposite of my sentence to sit in a classroom all day for the next several years.

This was the predecessor to the list of my favorite baby names, or binge-watching ‘day in my life’ YouTube videos for just about any career I found interesting. 

The hours I spent conjuring up the perfect future for myself were not only an unrealistic outlook of my life but also a complete lack of appreciation for the opportunities I had at the time.

I always had the mindset that my current stage was no fun — and if only I could move onto a more mature environment, I would actually be content.

Looking back, I wonder if I just wanted to escape the repetitive and unchanged routine of going to a building and interacting with the same people every day for several years, or if it was something more.

Maybe I craved the stability I thought would come with having a career, a house and a family. If I could just skip past all of the trials and tribulations along the way, I could have a picture-perfect life with the people I wanted to be around and the job I wanted to do.

After graduating high school, I told myself college would finally be the place where I could feel comfortable with the present and stop longing for a bigger or better experience.

After being at the University for a semester, I am still stuck in the cycle of wanting to be done and moving on so I can finally achieve the life I perceive as perfect.

Until I discovered the secret behind it all: I missed being younger and struggled to leave my childhood behind, so I coped by convincing myself the stage that came next would be better and more fulfilling. 

I thought the thrill of growing up was found in a metal middle school locker or an 11×11 room with only a closet, a desk and a bed. 

The truth is, there is no condition that makes life perfect. If you chase perfection, you will not achieve it. 

Even when I settle down with a career and a family, I know how easy it will be to convince myself there is a better aspect of life I am reaching for instead of enjoying the moment that is right in front of me.

Right now, there are little moments in each day I would regret not experiencing; like my friends’ rooms just being down the hallway, or being able to go on my phone late at night without my mom telling me I should have been asleep an hour ago.

Instead of hyperfocusing on what your life could have been or what it can be, the experiences you’re having right now will determine your life’s direction. Planning every detail of what you want your life to be takes away from both the experiences in the present and the discovery of the future.

 

Megan is a freshman in Media.

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