What If My Future Never Arrives?

by

How I cleared my life of meaningless obligations and opened the door to gratitude and possibility

The vacation, the party, the promotion…

We plan our lives in anticipation of the future, filling our calendars with events and activities that have yet to take place.

Most of us have convinced ourselves it’s important to have a schedule to work from, a detailed framework telling us where to go and what to do when we get there — a method to keep us on track.

But the reality is, as much as we try to plan every waking moment, it’s impossible to know what will happen until it does. Still, the fear of not having this pre-constructed guideline leaves many of us to believe that, without it, we’d be left to wander aimlessly, drifting through the minutes and hours without direction or purpose.

I wonder if that’s really true. The drifting part, I mean. Because, to me, the concept of “free time” without a scheduled activity or obligation holds a ton more possibilities than just sitting around waiting for something to come my way.

This is why I’m constantly reminding myself I have the freedom to live each moment by choice. Instead of conforming to a pre-set timetable of my own — or another’s — design, it’s okay to take the initiative and make a few tweaks, adjustments, and alterations to the current timeline that would best fit my present experience.

The result? I enjoy a more positive outlook, knowing I’m the architect of my life — the responsible party. I’ve given myself permission to design a roadmap based on integrating my own personal criteria, rather than wasting precious unrepeatable moments planning for a future that may or may not actually arrive.

It’s a common dilemma. We’re constantly bombarded with a lot of rhetoric proclaiming the joy and freedom of living in the moment, of being carefree and unencumbered by past baggage and unresolved regrets. Allegedly, this mindset allows for a more open sense of receptivity, curiosity, and exploration.

And yet, we’re constantly reminded that living without a future strategy — without a structured road map filled with goals, projects, and activities — will result in confusion, frustration, or failure.

But it’s not that black and white. There are benefits, flexibility, and merits in both options. I’m considering this perspective:

The day I’m living, right now, was once my tomorrow. And, somehow, I made it here, by circumstance or fate. Today evolved from a future timeline based on personal expectations, or perhaps accepted obligations. And yet, much too soon, this day will become my past, dissolving into a collection of memories to be forgotten, stored, or cherished.

Would I have enjoyed this day more, and been more grateful for my experiences, if I considered it to be my last? Would each moment be more meaningful if I understood that today’s memories will be the final ones I’ll gather?

Whether we realize we’re living in the present or one of our tomorrows, the anticipation of a better life is always in the realm of possibility. And within our control, because the future is just a blink away.

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