When you’re in college, a lot of people will tell you to cherish it because it’ll be the best years of your life. While I was still going through it, I would silently chuckle to myself whenever I heard someone tell me this. Nothing particularly excited ever happened to me, and it seemed like I was constantly stressed out by all of my school work. However, looking back at it from this part of my life, I whole heartedly agree with those individuals who told me to hold on to my university years. Yes, I felt a lot of pressure because of my classes, but that was the extent of my worries.

Most of my tuition and fees were covered by scholarships and grants, so I didn’t have to worry about money for four years. I may have had a job while I was in school, but my main job was getting an education, so it’s not like I had to worry about getting sacked from it. As long as I kept up my grades, I kept my “job.” And as stressful as my classes were, they were still interesting to me. I didn’t have to dread getting up and going in to a “job” that was uninteresting like I do now. I also didn’t have any major bills to pay. The loans that I did take out didn’t have to start being paid back until six months after I graduated. And the best part about college was being able to be around all of my friends. We all either lived on campus or close enough to campus that it wasn’t a pain to go and visit. And even if we didn’t plan on hanging out, chances were that we would run into each other at school and just stop and talk for hours if neither one of us was too busy.

I would give anything to go back to that moment in my life. Things were much simpler back then, and I often find myself looking back on this time with great nostalgia and longing. Unfortunately, I can’t go back in time, and neither can you. No matter how much you wish, pray, and want to return to that time, you can’t. And spending all of your time dwelling on the past isn’t healthy either. You live in the present, not the past, and your life should reflect that.

If you spend all of you time living in the past, then you may stop focusing on the present or your future, and you don’t want to do that. When you spend all of your time in your memories you won’t be able to experience all of the potential good that is awaiting you in the present. You won’t notice that cute guy who’s totally in to you if you’re too busy thinking about that boy that you used to date. You won’t see the people in your life who could be potential new friends if all you think about is those friends that you were once close to but grew apart from. And you won’t ever learn to embrace your new and slightly older looking body if you’re too busy looking at photos from when you were 18.

And living in the past can affect your future too. When you spend all of your time thinking about that dream job that you gave up, you may wind up missing the opportunity for an even better one to come across your path. When your entire day is spent thinking about being the star of your high school football team, you may miss out on the chance to be the star in a new area of your life. And when all you can think about is how you didn’t have to worry about paying bills when you were younger then one day you’re going to wake up and realize that you could have been spending that time finding a job that you liked that would help make paying those bills not as dreadful.

Positive thinker, reminiscing is fine, but don’t stay there too long. Remember to live in the present, and hold the memories of your past in your heart so that you can use them to make a better tomorrow for yourself.