My silence took us both by surprise. It had been years since anyone had asked me that question, and at least three years since I had a good answer. I was sitting in a café with a researcher that I admired. A mutual friend had introduced us to each other the year before. I was coming to the end of my internship and wanted to use my connection to find a placement doing psychological research. As I sat in the café with the researcher, I recounted, with a puffed chest, all of my research accomplishments from graduate school. She sat there, politely nodding and smiling, seemingly impressed. But then her question: “What do you do for fun?” It took me entirely by surprise. This is not what I came here for. I didn’t prepare for this.
“Nothing.” I said, more softly than I had intended. “All I do is work.”
“Well… that’s not good.” She replied. I let out an uncomfortable laugh.
Our meeting ended soon after, and as we shook hands, she told me that if she heard of any opportunities for me, she would give me a call. She never called.
I think about that interaction a lot. In the latter part of my schooling, I was so ready to move onto my “real life” outside of school, that I put my head down and only focused on my work. I worked up to 16 hours a day in an effort to get out of school as quickly as possible. I was so focused on my future that I lost focus of my present. And by doing so, lost opportunities to grow personally and spiritually, not just professionally.
I don’t know if it’s in our nature, or whether it is imposed upon us by society, but human beings innately look to the future. We can probably speak more eloquently about where we want to be than where we are right now. I think it’s a beautiful thing to plan, think about, and look forward to the future, but not when it comes at the price of losing the life we have today.
I think that when Jesus instructed us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, NIV), he wasn’t just telling us that in the present we’ll have enough, but that the present is a gift, and it’s also enough. I believe that God wants to have a relationship with who we are now, not just who we’re going to become. I don’t know about you, but I want to bask more fully in the gift that is the present.
If you like this article, you may appreciate The Day I Found Hope.
Jael Amador writes from New York.© 2002 - 2022, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.