It’s 2:14pm in the afternoon as I sit in my dormitory typing this. I have a class at 5:30pm, lots of work and lectures to catch up on, but yet I sit here pondering about life and why I’ve been feeling so down recently. I just came back from a Bali trip with a few friends from Korea and the feeling of visiting a foreign place for the first time comes to mind. That exhilaration from viewing a beautiful sunset, lying on beanbags and listening to a live band by the beach, even up to the sandfly bites that came back home with me, all these were a first for me and it felt amazing.
But yet in life, we experience so many firsts, be it good or bad, and because of these firsts, we start to become numb when we experience them a second time. This is why often as adults, or even when we start growing up, we always express ourselves wanting to go back to our childhood days, where everything was new to us.
As we grow up, we are tainted with experiences that make us feel vulnerable, fearful, maybe even apprehensive when we are confronted with the same experience again. Being bullied in elementary school, and having a fear of meeting new friends when you reach middle school, because of that failed first experience. Knowing that doing something will hurt your heart once again, but you still dive into it anyway. Despite our unwillingness to step out of our comfort zones, we somehow find ourselves doing it continually because a part of us wants to believe that this time, it’ll be different, this time, it’ll be great. If it goes well this time, this experience will be the new “first.” And that’s how all of us came about ain’t it? We found better friends after hurts, we found a better job after quitting, we found happiness after countless letdowns.
We feel down because even in the midst of that experience, we rehearse the pain once again, that this situation will end up like the previous one. We feel down because we go in with the mindset of wanting it to be different, but we keep focusing on the past pain instead of basking in the current happiness.
This is what we struggle with our minds daily. Stop. How do I stop thinking about the past, how to stop rehearsing on what has happened, and instead focus on the good? I tell myself, I want to focus on what is happening right now, focus on how I can make this experience better. It’s hard, but we have to. As we grow up, we get to have a choice on where we plant ourselves. If you planted yourself in such a situation, make every experience a new first for yourself. Don’t focus on the past, just don’t. It takes time to learn, but try your best to stop. Yes, there are situations that may occur and you didn’t choose for it to happen, but the answer it to simply stop. Stop and think, stop and just be true to yourself, be thankful, be grateful for a chance to make something into a “first” for yourself.
This time it will be different, and this time it will be good.
That’s what I need to tell myself today.