Leeds School of Business

Dear Domna: Being present

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Every day for the past 6 months I’ve written “BE PRESENT” on my wrist. Recently, I’ve decided to get it permanently tattooed. I got it as a daily reminder that the past is nothing but a story and the future isn’t real — it’s nothing but scenarios we’ve created in our heads. Now is all we have. Any kind of fear is an illusion from the past that you bring to your future.

The concept of being present is relevant to every single person on this Earth. Too often and too many times a day we are rehearsing scenarios in our head. Whether they’re about things we wish we could’ve changed in the past or things we hope or fear for the future, they are nothing but products of our imaginations.

We think about things we wish we would’ve said differently or things we wish we would have done in a different way. We’re hard on ourselves about our past or, we fantasize about it and wish that things were back to the way they once were. Then we stick our heads in the future. Our minds race all day and everyday about how things are going to turn out.We think about how we’re going to pay off all our student loans, if the relationship with our significant other is going to last a while, where we are going to get a career after college, where we’re going to live next year, how we’re going to be able to balance higher level classes and a part time job — the list goes on.

All in all, none of those things matter! We can try to plan our future and map out every detail, yet the future isn’t real. Think back to a year ago and think about all the unexpected events that have happened between now and then. You can’t fully fathom — no matter how hard you try — to guess what unexpected events will occur within the next year of your life.

Many things in your future are out of your control. All you really know is that right now, this second, you are reading this article. You have no idea what could happen five minutes from now, an hour from now, a week from now, five years from now. Don’t think that life will ever plateau or bore you; life is never boring, and it will always throw new things at you.

Your past is just as irrelevant. You can’t bring fears from the past into your future because time has gone on and circumstances are different. Nothing will ever be like it was, say a year ago, because that was a year ago and 365 days have passed since then. The past is a story. It’s a memory that is only real in our heads. You cannot change the past, so what is the point of obsessing over it?

The only thing that you are capable of doing is changing what you’re doing at this moment. If you want to close out of this article, you can. If you wanted to look at this article in 10 minutes, you don’t know if you can do that because your computer could suddenly crash or your wifi could disconnect. You can have an idea of what you would like for your future but you can not always plan out every detail and expect it to turn out just as planned.

It’s all about trusting that everything will take care of itself, just like it always has. All that matters is that you are okay right now. Think about the times that you have stressed over things in the past and how they worked themselves out and seem so minuscule since time has passed.

Living in the present moment means being aware of your place, setting and mindset at this moment. There is nothing else that is real except for right now. Circumstances continuously change and people walk in and out of your life. This is why you need to cherish every present moment and the people and things in your life that mean something to you.

Looking at my future, I have no idea what I want to do when I’m out of college. But I know I like writing and I like helping people. Therefore, I try my hardest to get good grades in college, write for a newspaper and volunteer as a mentor. That’s all I can really do in this present moment, and I trust in the universe that everything else will always follow.

Don’t worry so much about what you’re going to do in the future, because I promise, if you are always doing the best you can and trying your best with the circumstances you are given, you will always be taken care of. Whenever you catch yourself thinking too much about your past or future, just remember the mantra: Be present.

Be Present. (Domna Dali/CU Independent Photo Illustration)
Be Present. (Domna Dali/CU Independent Photo Illustration)

Contact Staff Writer Domna Dali at domna.dali@colorado.edu.

About Domna Dali

Domna Dali writes relatable, anecdotal advice under the column “Dear Domna.” She is studying journalism and digital media. Originally from the East Coast, she loves the mountains as much as she loves the ocean and New York City.

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