I love to think about the future. My future is going to be amazing. It’s full of all kinds of things like money, adventures, friends, family, and memories. But memories are in the past. The only way they get in the past is if they are created in the present.
Why is it so hard for me to understand that?
I have spent more time in front of the Mirror of Erised than I care to admit. It’s so easy for me to get stuck day dreaming about the way things are going to be while the opportunity to create them is slipping away. When I don’t do anything today nothing gets established for tomorrow.
Every few months I have these thoughts of fear that creep into my head about all the things that I am not accomplishing. I lose myself in the dreams I had or still have and beat myself up for not being at “that point”. So, I take a deep breath and start planning my days to start getting things done. Eventually that schedule gets away from me and then the fear creeps in again. It’s a vicious cycle.
There is a direct conflict between my present self and who I assume my future self to be. The reality is that my future self is likely not going to be that different from my present self, and that’s where things get frustrating for me. Like most, I assume, I want to do great things. I want to make an impact.
My anticipation for future me pulls present me from living in the present. Living in the present and taking advantage of what is happen right now is how my future self is created.
This whole future self/present self makes me think about the Ben Folds’ song Bastard. Here’s the chorus I am referring to:
Kids today gettin' old too fast
They can't wait to grow up so they can kiss some ass
They get nostalgic about the last ten years
Before the last ten years have passed
I am that kid. My high school friends called me Old Man, jokingly, but there was something about the future that held my attention. Everything was possible when I was no longer living with my parents, when I was no longer in high school, when I finally finished my degree. Now that those things have passed I don’t feel any different.
Sure, I’m older, maybe a little smarter, and my life is better, but it’s not what I expected. Nor should it be because that’s not the point. The point is not to have a list of accomplishments and cross them off. The point is to enjoy what I have with the time that I’ve been given. To make the most of it and share that with friends and family who, make it better.
For that I need to be present.