Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
There was a time when I had no future.
I can remember living, firmly inside the now. My visions ahead did not contain a future. The contained whispers, memories cast forward, shadows. Where those around me saw marriage and family, career and travel, I saw a curiously blank slate, a wall of sorts. The Nothing.
The world had taken away most of what I thought was my future, and cast me listless into the wind of time.
Life without a future leaves you open to most anything, as there’s no timeline to destroy, no expectation to shatter, no worries to form. There’s nothing there-no children in the minds eye or picket fences to burn. I couldn’t imagine old age, since I couldn’t conceive of making it that far to worry.
And loss, and neglect, they condition you to see only today, only what you can hold in your tender paws and chew on gently, just to make sure it’s pure. What can the future hold, except more pain and disappointment, more anger and fear? If you take everything from a person, and replace it with an ache and a void you cannot erase or fill, how can they look ahead?
But a funny thing happened. For a moment, I found happy. I found a steady place to stand and wait. The wall dissipated, and for the first time in my life, I could look forward into tomorrow and really see who I could be, where I might sit, the books that would lie next to my bed, on the floor as messy as they did at 11.
I could see me, old and grey and smiling, surrounded by family and love, a life well spent. Or a me travelling into her golden years, covered in twilight. Or me and my husband, on a porch late into the evening, not saying much, but sitting anyway, thinking of this or that.
But that isn’t the future either, not now. The wall descends as I find I cannot believe in the future, wounded once more by my present, by my love and trust, still naive enough to believe in both. My future melts into the now, blackens once more with the dust of daily life.
I can’t worry about the future. My worries are here, and now and firm and block my sight regardless. My worries are commonplace and not so far ahead, if someone will ever love me again, if we’ll have enough to eat. If I’m strong enough for now, let alone then.
They blindside me, these worries. And they’re enough for 15 tomorrows.
(Quadelle had a fab idea to do a series of posts based on phrases from Mary Schmich’s commencement address . [You may remember it better as a “song” by Baz Luhrmann] I thought it was a great idea, so, I stole it. Or copied. Whatever. Imitation is the soul of wit. Or brevity. Or both. )