Peace with Future

Hi there! Hope everyone is doing good! Today, I am going to sort of follow up on my last post on peace with past, which you can read here if you have not already.

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One of the main motivation points that got me into the process of making peace with my past was that I wanted to live in the now. I had noticed that I was frequently visiting my past every day and that was not allowing me to enjoy things as much as I should in the moment.

Maybe sounds a bit cliché but this process helped me let go of my past obsessions a bit.

But then there was the other side of the coin: the future.

Living in the present means not living in the past and not living in the future, analytically speaking.

Yes, I was no longer living in my past that much. But I was still living in the future, despite my efforts not to do that.

Add to this sad picture the fact that I often get obsessive about my goals. Once I set a goal, I give my all to reach that goal. Time, energy, sacrifice. Almost to the level of obsession. I don’t have a very healthy approach to this issue.

But this unhealthy approach seemed to work for a long time. In fact, it got me into places I could only imagine (the high-school I wanted, the university and MA programs I wanted, I got the exact job I had in mind, the PhD program I wanted etc.) So, I am grateful.

Hopefully, you can sense a ‘but’ coming. Because there is one coming.

But something was wrong. I was slowly discovering that I am actually not as much of an ambitious person as I thought I was. And I was tired. Living in my future goals made me exhausted. Constantly being under the pressure of trying to get at some future point.

So, when I got into the PhD program, I promised myself that I would not set any goals for myself anymore because I did not want to live in the future anymore. I just wanted to stay where I was. So, I did not set any goals (still don’t have much of it, really).

This came with a good and a bad consequence.

The good one is that I started learning a lot more about myself, with my mind freed from the pressure of future. In fact, that is the time when I started dealing with my past in an attempt to learn myself better.

The bad one is that I felt lost without an external goal. I was not trained to live in the moment. Without something to direct my energy to, I felt very much aimless.

Coupled with the fact that academia requires you to be on top of everything at all times. Otherwise, you can’t really survive. You should not be lost.

I knew what I should do was to have a goal to direct my energy to but without obsessing over it.

Did I do it?

Nope. Still not.

I am still very much lost, hovering back and forth. Still struggling to live in the moment, but also have a goal to balance my energy.

I don’t know when that struggle is going to end, or if at all. But I am happy that I was, for the most part, able to get rid of major future worries (well, by human nature, I still have a bunch of them, especially if that human is in academia).

The only thing I am convinced entirely is that it does not make sense to get rid of goals, just like it does not make sense to forget all past experiences. The key is to channel them to something better. A past experience can be a lesson you can lead your life by and help others with. A future goal can be a tool to make the best out of yourself. But I still suck at this.

Now, I want to hear your thoughts.

Do you worry about the future a lot? If so, how do you deal with that worry? If not, how did you achieve that state of mind? What are your experiences with dealing with future worries? What is your take on such efforts? How do you define living in the moment? Shoot.

Betul

47 thoughts on “Peace with Future

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    1. Thank you!😊 I try to do that too! And yes we cannot predict what will happen but we can try to have an idea of how we want our future to shape, act accordingly, but when this does not work, not crack under disappointment. Having no idea about future makes me feel lost.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I found this article very interesting and had a bit of a retort to offer. personally think about my future somewhat often and often to my own advantage. However the big thing I’ve discovered is not too think about it while your living it! This can be done on a variety of levels, but it really just stems down to planning ahead. I had similar problems of always living in the past or the future.
    The key I found was to analyze mistakes made in the past and use this to learn more about how you should conduct yourself in the future. But to make sure that when one is engaged or occupied that their mind is kept clear as water thinking as little as possible and focusing as much on the current activity or task as possible without dividing your attention. I’ve also found thinking with senses such as attempting to visualize images or conjures sounds leads to much more productive modes of thinking.
    I personally think about my future when I’m alone and unoccupied and the past whenever I’m making connections to a prior experience(a mental activity which I find extremely useful in retaining information efficiently. ) or when it’s prompted by nostalgia or through conversation.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. This is a very nice explanation! I believe that having an idea about what you want your future to be like makes today much more productive. The point is not to focus so much on your idea of future that when it does not happen, you don’t crack (and also so much that you can’t focus on your activity now). I tend to lose balance and am trying to learn these things, but the ideal is to have leant from the past, as you said, to guide our future just a bit, and then leave the rest to today’s actions.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t believe it is entirely possible for us not to think about past or future, or entirely sensible. Our brains have evolved to do that and it really is part of our survival strategies so don’t beat yourself up about it.
    That being said it is not healthy to obsess about the future. Planning is one thing but if your planning is like
    ‘I will be happy when…’
    ‘My life will be better when…’
    then you are in problematic territory.
    What stops you being happy now? What makes your life unsatisfactory now? If the answer is your own head then you need to look at things. If the answer is that you are happy but you’d still really like to do [big dream idea] then fine – plan it, dream it, do what you need to make it happen and enjoy the planning as part of that journey but know that this part of the journey may take you somewhere different to exactly where you imagined and that’s ok too.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree to all of the above! I am still working on this. Having most of my life so far dreaming but also making these dreams somewhat of an obsession, my training will take long. But what you describe is what I aim to reach at at the end of this process. I hope to achieve a stage where my happiness is not conditioned in things (so, no ‘I will be happy when’s).

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The past shapes us, doesn’t it. How we deal with it is what’s important. Up until recently I spent too much time agonizing over stupid things I did back in my past. The emotional baggage I carried was a burden. So one day, I wrote it all down. All the discomfort, all the annoyances. It was for my eyes only, it was never published on a public platform. And I found this to be quite liberating. It was kind of like a way to process it, and then to store it away, out of my present tense. It’s not perfect, and I’m not done, but it has helped. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have been there too! And I went though what you also did, in a different format and for a longer time. But it is definitely liberating! We should just bear with the difficulty for a bit and it gets nice afterwards!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I live in present. I am trying to take one day at time. However, I always remember our past impact on our present, walk along with in the future. Sometime I feel I know my future well but other minutes I don’t know about my present. My friends think I still stuck in the past. LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Living in the present means not living in the past and not living in the future, analytically speaking.” Holy shit, you’re right on the money!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “Time, energy, sacrifice. Almost to the level of obsession. I don’t have a very healthy approach to this issue.” Wow, I never thought of moderating that!”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. ” the fact that academia requires you to be on top of everything at all times. Otherwise, you can’t really survive. You should not be lost.

    I knew what I should do was to have a goal to direct my energy to but without obsessing over it.

    Did I do it?”

    Fuck academia. I’m…really…stressed out by it, too. I really wonder if other parts of life are actually different. It seems like a majority of people are overworked and obsessing nowadays over the future success. The economy is nuts, by the way! If not struggling for A’s, were struggling for $’s. So um…Idunno, this is a really pessimistic view of it. But this pessimistic view also highlights why we should overwork and over-obsess ourselves. Theres always gonna be something. Something will always find the way to take that place. And it’s not sustainable to let it happen all the time. So…it’s smart to reject the pressure to engage constantly in that obsessive, worrying, workaholic behavior. Harder to do than saying it, because we wouldn’t worry if it wasn’t so hard, but…yeah. :> It’s the only way we can move forward.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that it is the only way to keep sane. Academia sucks for mental health and I think this is probably more common knowledge now. I agree that everyone has their own stress factors and levels. But maybe academia might be one-step worse than most, because there is research showing that PhD students are 3-6 times more likely to have depression or other mental issues than ‘ general public (I don’t know who that really refers to)’. Most people I know in that field experience similar issues (unless they gave up on a future in academia already). The more we give up, the better we feel but we also don’t want to give up. Dilemma.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Most times i pray expressing how worried i am and i confess the words He has given me as many times as possible. And most importantly i focus on all the good things working out at the moment and had in previous time and over time it eases out.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I love this post . I am the same way . I set goals for myself all the time and sometimes I set goals so high that I end up burning myself out . I don’t leave time for fun or relaxing. Yes I reached many goals this way but it also gave me a lot of anxiety and pressure . I still set goals but I set less goals and I now set goals that have better quality and that are more realistic .

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, I am not sure if I overcame anything, but I learnt a lot and am trying to integrate my learning. But that is a long process, for sure. Because it means we need to change a lot of our patterns.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Most times i pray expressing how worried i am and i confess the words He has given me as many times as possible. And most importantly i focus on all the good things working out at the moment and had in previous time and over time it eases out.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Many turn to the supernatural for clues about the future. Some seek the advice of astrologers; horoscopes are a regular feature in many magazines and newspapers. Others consult fortune-tellers or psychics, who claim to “read” the future by interpreting patterns in tarot cards, numbers, or the lines of one’s hand.
    The inspired words of pslams 37 clearly point to a bright future for those who hope in Jehovah and follow his way.
    To learn more, please visit http://www.jw.org

    Liked by 2 people

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