Forward-thinking can consume you if you do not learn to enjoy the present


Charlotte Smith


Keep thinking.

My entire high school career I have uttered these two words to myself.

When my mom asks me what I am doing, I am more than likely to reply “thinking.” During the day, or at night, thinking consumes my thoughts.

Of course, the prospects of my future have been the source of my recent pondering. I thoughtfully planned for my future and felt secure in my options and decisions.


I was deferred from the college that I have wanted to apply to since I was 12 years old Jan. 30. Not denied, not accepted, but still in limbo for another two months.

Jan. 30 was also the day that marked my transition to adulthood. What a Happy Birthday to me.

Not that I was surprised. I had thought beforehand about the odds, calculating my slim chances of acceptance, knowing full well that an acceptance would be hard to come by no matter how much hard work I had put in these past three and a half years. I was still disappointed.

My first reaction to my deferral was “what if.” I could not stop thinking. I began to second guess everything I had worked for and self-doubt lingered. I needed to come up with solutions, alternatives, back-up plans to my plans B, C, and D.

As my frenetic brain went haywire and I researched possible solutions, I came across an article called “16 Signs You Have A Type A Personality” in The Huffington Post. Fifteen of the signs listed were applicable to me. At least I do not bite my nails.

One of the warning signs in particular that caught my attention was “you’re a catastrophist.”

I was still being considered for acceptance for the college I have always loved, yet I began to prepare for the worst as if it was my impending death.

If something has changed in the past four years, it is the fact that I have realized that non-stop thinking, a result of intense pressure, can consume and swallow you whole. My worries have accumulated faster than snow in a polar vortex.

The external pressure, in my case at least, did not even remotely compare to the pressure I placed on myself.

I am just now realizing that I spent my high school experience preparing for the future, constantly thinking, considering, and reconsidering my path. I sacrificed my current happiness for a future that I could never fully prepare for.

Maybe learning that fateful decision on the day marking my transition to adulthood was more than just mere coincidence. Maybe my deferral is meant to give me an opportunity to reflect on, not rethink or reconsider, my plans for the future, so I can find the perfect fit for me.

I now understand the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” I will find the place where I am supposed to be and perhaps this is how my journey is meant to progress.

There is no reason to worry.

As what is said in one of my favorite shows, “Whatever happens, happens” (in case you are racking your brain on which show it is, it starts with an L). This second semester I will have new priorities,   because there is more to life than a letter.

Becoming a second semester senior, with the perks of some relaxation and ease, has been therapeutic. Some of the lingering stress that has clouded my brain the last three and a half years is finally dissipating.

Even still, I continue to get trapped into a ball of stress. Before, I would continue to let it weigh me down. Now, I am learning to remind myself of what is really important.

The pressure that has mounted for three and a half years is finally alleviating. Re-shifting my focus to enjoying the last few months of high school I have will allow me to stop thinking and just know that everything is going to be all right.

Stop thinking. I could get used to that.