The Price of Living in a Future that Hasn’t Come

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Over the weekend I had the opportunity to take a few long walks with Husker and really give some thought to my gift and curse of being a futurist (Futurist–that’s what Gallup tells me is one of my top five strengths).  I’m always looking ahead. Dreaming. Thinking about what could be.  That’s great if you’re creating a vision and setting incremental goals to achieve it.  It’s not so great if it makes you look at your present as though it’s not good enough.

I was described by a friend once as suffering from “chronic discontent”.  I, of course, rebuffed his observation at the time.  It wasn’t long before I acknowledged he was right.  You see, the price of living in a future that hasn’t come is you’re never satisfied with the here and now.  It also prevents you from fully valuing friendships and relationships that are right in front of you because you’re already speculating on “what if”.  What if this new cancer diagnosis means death?  What if my house isn’t ready when my guests arrive?  What if I commit to this relationship and he/she leaves me?

Here’s the thing—in the NOW, cancer diagnosis is JUST a diagnosis.  It has no bearing on enjoying the time right now—loving, laughing, or just breathing a bit.  And it’s possible that down the road, you will be well.  In the NOW, your home does not have a guest in it.  You have time to straighten it up as best you can and prepare to ENJOY your friends instead of worrying about whether or not your towels are color coded in the linen closet.  In the NOW, your relationship is WORTH the risk of commitment.  By giving yourself fully to the great joy of this moment, you create a solid foundation from which to build the relationship that sustains the tests of time.

Clearly these are just brief examples.  Hopefully you get the gist that living in the future comes at a price—chronic discontent.  So if you find yourself projecting a future that has not come, reel it back in and ask yourself, “what is true right NOW?”  This one question will return you to the present moment and allow you to proceed with gratitude for your life, just as it is.  And THAT moment, is priceless.

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