This is a piece I wrote for The Honor Code.
As college students and budding professionals, it is common to be future-oriented. More often than not, we find ourselves pondering about the next semester, internship, degree, etcetera. Future orientation, or the process of thinking about and considering the implications of the future, can be beneficial—it enables introspection and influences positive action towards achieving goals. It can be exciting—energizing even—to think of what is to come.
However, future orientation can also present as destination addiction. Destination addiction is a preoccupation with the future. As a result, destination addiction shifts attention away from the present and towards the future. This shift in attention reflects an assumption that contentment lies ahead, not now. Continuously dismissing the present in favor of the future can lead to detrimental thought patterns and toxic feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction.
How can we overcome destination addiction?
Simply, acknowledge the uniqueness of the phase you are in.
Everything that has happened had to happen the way it did for you to be in the phase you are in.
Think back to a time when all you wanted was to be where you are now.
Maybe this means being a college student, landing your dream internship, having a solid group of friends…
I urge you to think of 3 things about the phase you are in that you like.
It can be as surface level as your hairstyle or as deep as the psycho-emotional shift you have experienced.
Whatever it may be, the phase you are in is whole, complete, and purposeful. Appreciate it.
Ultimately, if you do not practice contentment with the present, you will not be able to in the future.