When you really think about it, the phrase, “Your best future” really doesn’t make much sense. The future is too dependent on things outside of our control and too unknowable to ever call one “best.” But the biggest strike against the future is simply that it is not the present. The present is the only place we can experience things, the only place where we can find or create meaning.
We tend to think that we need to live in the future more than we actually do. We all have anxieties about it. But I think where we go wrong is in conflating preparation with worry. Of course, we should all think about the future enough to make reasonable preparations, but how much does that take really? How much time and energy do we spend worrying about things that never happen, perhaps things we have no real control over in any case?
If we are honest, I think we could surprise ourselves with how much of the time we spend worrying about the future is totally unnecessary, and how often “practicality” is really just a word we use to justify fear or inertia. Balance cannot be achieved by attempting to prepare for every possible misfortune.
One great rule I’ve found is: don’t ask yourself “what if,” ask yourself “what is.” Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, and nobody can prepare for everything. Yes, reasonable preparations are good. Yes, you should exercise, brush your teeth, and save for a rainy day. But let me put it to you this way: why are you saving for a rainy day? Why prepare for the future?
Well, because the future becomes the present, and one day your life will be easier for all that. Tomorrow you will be older than you are today, and the sort of life you are able to have in that present moment will partially depend on what you do in this one. This is all obvious, but notice what it means: that the future is meant to serve the present, not the other way around. All our worry and preparation are meant to preserve our sense of peace, joy, and meaning in the present, but if we fail to remember that, then it defeats the purpose.
We talk a lot about checking everything we do against the standard of living in love in the present moment. Today, we should all pay special attention to that last part. Love, after all, is a process, not a goal. It is never completed and cannot be hoarded. In other words, there is no sense in putting off living for later.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd