It’s easy for me to overwhelm myself with thoughts of the future. Maybe it’s because of my panic disorder, or maybe I’m just a little more human than I thought.
How do you decide which path to take? How do you know if the next step will hold or if the ground will crumble beneath your feet? Is there more to life than the pursuit of the future?
I’ve learned a lot over these past few months. I’ve learned through happiness, tears, pain… I’ve learned about the future and how it exists outside of my own world. When I try to determine what the future holds, I do nothing more than create a story in my head and act as though my fiction is reality. I don’t know what tomorrow or even the next ten seconds may hold.
The past is over and there’s nothing I can do about it.
The future is shrouded in mystery that simply cannon be understood.
The present, right now, is what I have.
I have this moment to live. I have this moment to choose. I have this moment to make the most of.
When I worry about the future, I forsake the magnificence of the moment. This is a moment I will only have once. This is a moment I can never redo. This moment is precious and should be lived to the fullest.
But what is the fullest? How do I live life to the fullest when I don’t know the standard of full?
I guess it comes down to your own ideas of a fulfilled life.
So what are your ideas? Money, fame, possessions… These are all typical things that I hear people speaking of. You have to work to have all the stuff, look the part, go to the right places. Personally, I find those things less important than most.
For the month of October, I have chosen not to do my usual work, but to give my mind and body a break from the stresses of making the next dollar. (I realize that most people can’t do this, but my specific situation does allow for it.) I have taken this month to reflect on what I’ve done, where I’ve been, who I’ve become, and what’s most important to me.
I feel as though certain doors have been in the process of swinging shut and have now come to the point of closing. There are now many doors to choose from, yet I’m not sure which one is the right one.
So as I wait in the hallway, pondering which handle to turn, I find myself asking, “what is most important?”
What is most important?
I think that we can spend our entire lives chasing after petty things, becoming bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, richer, and waste our breath complaining and arguing when things don’t go just right. But why?
There’s a world of people who are starving, dying of thirst, living in slavery, unable to sleep because of very real fears. There’s an entire world of hurting and we only have one lifetime to do anything about it.
As I’ve thought through this time of reflection, I’ve come to this conclusion: Riches are not what I live for. Possessions do not own me. I don’t need a mansion or a pocketful of cash at all times. What I need is to take each day and make the most of it. I need to smile at everyone with genuine kindness. I need to be ready to help those in need. I need to use my words to encourage and lift up. I need to find joy in the smallest details. I need to love even the unloveable.
Why not? The world is so full of pain already. Adding more to it is foolish. Allowing that pain to consume me does nothing for me. But choosing to be kind gives me purpose. Serving others gives life meaning. Offering a smile might get a stranger through a very hard day.
My mind has been focused on making money for the future that I cannot see. But I think I’d rather do what I can to survive today, save for tomorrow, and spend my energy pouring into the lives of those around me.
A lifetime may seem long, but it can end in an instant. So don’t let the future steal your moment. Choose to be kind today. Choose to love today.
Choose to live today, and don’t worry about what the future holds.