Now, in a World of Next | Teen Ink

Now, in a World of Next

January 16, 2019
By mgear3 BRONZE, Port Washington, New York
mgear3 BRONZE, Port Washington, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents." -Bob Ross

During this age of technology, life moves fast and people only focus on what comes next, rather than living in the present. Oftentimes their day dreaming is centered on the “next” rather than the “now.” According to research, people spend almost half of their time thinking about something else other than what they are actually doing. This concept has been the center of my life; the word itself encompasses a number of things and has a number of connotations, good and bad. However, throughout my adolescence, almost every single one of my peers have been looking for what comes next while losing sense of what is going on now; it drives me absolutely crazy.

My parents, teachers and friends do not always focus on my current accomplishments, or allow me to appreciate my success; it seems like they are congratulating me and, in the same breath, asking me about what’s next. This makes me feel pressured and puts me on the spot because at the age of seventeen, I often don’t know what is to come next. I strongly believe that people need to start living in the “now,” rather than looking ahead for what comes next. Because of this, they are not enjoying what they have now or what they have achieved; they are too wrapped up with the next “great” thing and put way too much stress on themselves, myself included.

The concept of next is central to technology. Technology is all about what’s next - the next innovation, the next platform or the next device. This is most evident with the iPhone. The iPhone X has just released, but investors and customers are already thinking about the next, newest iPhone. I am already counting the days until I can upgrade my iPhone. Inherently, technology is designed to transport the user to what’s next. For example, it entices me to move from one online experience to another. I think of it as an alternative reality. I become so absorbed by it that I get lost and hop from one entertaining site to another and then another. Maybe if teenagers would stop placing so much of their attention on technology, this issue would not be as prevalent. But, sadly, if I am not pursuing the next thing in content, I find myself surfing to see what I should do next.

Thinking about what comes next makes me feel as though I am not moving quickly enough. Upon entering high school, I was excited to spend the next four years with my closest friends; I dreamt of going to prom, attending pep rallies, watching sports events, etc. Sadly, once I hit my sophomore year I began to worry about getting into a good college and what I needed to do for that to happen: keeping my grades up, tutoring for a strong ACT score and making sure I had enough extra-curricular activities. By concentrating on what’s next, I seem to be skipping what’s great about high school.

Most students in high school look at education as a means to an end; something that will set them up for the next step. Consequently, the majority of students pay close attention to the teacher in class, not to enrich their knowledge, in order to score high on the test; making them stronger candidates for college. Due to this, teenagers never consider the life-long benefits of learning in class; everything is about getting to the next phase of life. What is even more irritating is that universities are now compelling high school students to have a solid idea of what they want to do in life. Most colleges have specialized schools, such as business, nursing and education; in most cases, it is very difficult to switch out of or into one of the specialized schools. Therefore, high schoolers do actually have to focus on what’s next.  

When I go to college, I am worried that all I will be thinking about is the next stage in my life; that is, how to land a great job out of college. I mean, how could I not? Everyone around me seems to be. Instead, I truly hope that people who are in this very similar situation can figure out a way to make the “now” as important, if not more important, than the “next” in life.

Taking all of this into consideration, the concept of what comes next is far too ingrained into important aspects of life, such as education and technology. It is almost like there is a gravitational pull forcing me to zero in on what’s next. In the years to come, I think it will be critically important for me, alongside others, to resist falling into what’s next and climbing back to the present. If people keep racing from one thing to the next, life will pass them by and in a hurry; no one will be able to look back on what they have experienced or accomplished, because life will have become a blur.

The author's comments:

I hope that other teenagers can read this piece and feel a lot less alone, like I did. I was inspired to write this once the college process began because this piece is related to a topic that is very central to my life; moreover, a topic that is central to every single teenager's life. 

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