Kathryn Nundal

Don’t wish your life away

By  Kathryn Nundal, Youth Speak News
  • May 7, 2014

I’ve always been one for planning my life ahead of schedule, even years in advance. I tend to go overboard often. The evidence is all over the day planner I use at school: a scribble in the margins here, a small number there, all marking just how long I have until the important dates coming up on my life, like graduation or signing up for classes for my first semester of university.

Numbers and small personal notes count off the months, weeks and even days until these dates arrive. I’ve now reached a point where I know almost all of them off the top of my head. But my mother has a favourite saying for the times I bring up my overly elaborate plans for the future around the house: “Don’t wish your life away.”

When an important time in one’s life is just around the corner, it’s only natural to be excited. However, it’s easy when planning for what’s ahead to forget the importance of now. It’s a bit like hiking a trail while staring into binoculars. We can see more clearly what is coming, but it is easy to miss what is immediately beneath our feet.

In the same way, spending too much time making plans for the future can distract one from what is directly at hand. The bright outlook of the future can make the present look frustratingly dismal, and if, upon arrival, the eagerly anticipated event is not everything one imagined it to be, one can become disappointed, angry or depressed, feelings that drag us away from a good relationship with God.

More importantly, living in the future can draw us away from the people in our lives and can pull us away from devoting every precious minute of our earthly existence to the greater glory of God. St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s “Little Way” encourages offering each act of each day to Christ, but how can we accomplish this if our gaze is focused elsewhere? If we stare constantly at the horizon, we are refusing to commit fully to the people and events currently happening, and we can stumble on or fall away from the path that follows Christ to heaven.

This is not to say that planning ahead is wrong, but that allowing ourselves to become absorbed in the future can endanger our spiritual lives. What is to come, in this moment, is the most mutable part of the life of each individual and is impossible for human beings ever to predict fully. The present alone allows man to exercise his God-given free will and make the choices that will lead him to heaven or send him spinning in the opposite direction. Indeed, it can be said that in spending the present dwelling on the future, we miss our only chance to shape that future as well as we can, for only in the present can we accomplish anything.

(Nundal, 16, is a student of Traditional Learning Academy in Coquitlam, B.C.)

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