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In the Future, it Counts

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The future scares me.

I look around and it seems like all the people I know already have their lives planned out. From the moment they step out of this hot brick prison called high school, they have clearly established goals and deadlines. Ambitious we call those people. They’re go-getters. This is supposed to be a superior trait.

So how about the rest of us?

In the summer, I like to lie back in my bed and listen to distant trains speed by. In those trains are people – speeding by without a backwards glance. Those people are high-tech to me. They’re robots. Psychics. With their high evolved cranial structures, they have the superhuman ability to predict the future. What’s even more frightening is their undying thirst for competition. They’re ruthless. They would slit their neighbor’s neck just to get ahead. Cut throat competition and extreme drive appear to be the characteristics that get a girl success these days.

Hey, that’s just not me.

I don’t know how those people speed through their lives just to reach that far away dream of “a better future”. Ambition. Fueled by this alien power, scruples are abandoned and lives are hastened. Work hard to meet your final goal; attain that goal under all circumstances. The ends justify the means. But what happens when their goal is finally achieved? This is what confuses me the most about the cutthroats. If a person keeps fantasizing about the future, at what point can he stop and just appreciate today?

So you think you know exactly what you want. Yet, when you get what you want, you find something completely different to strive for – something better. There is always something better. So the cutthroat circle starts again and you work for the new future. What if this one sucks too? What then? You find that it’s too late – you’ve withered into old age. Potential, gone! Good fortune, gone! Live life too fast and you’ll never get it back. This is my worst nightmare.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a whole lot and I think this is a very good thing. With lack of knowledge comes curiosity, the will to explore all my open options. Take it slow.

Remember that famous cliché about life being a journey? Let me bring it back.

If I rode on a train, I would not think about where I was going, the final destination. There is an endless blur of scenes rushing by outside. I would neither look forward nor back. I would just look.

My vision is one of today. Today, I can be whoever I want to be.
Don’t I have my whole life ahead of me? I always will, at any given moment. A lifetime is boundless but a day is only so many hours long. In a sense, my job is harder than that of the cutthroats. I measure my success on a daily basis. They have their whole lives to make mistakes; I only have today.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t have a future. I do. It’s vast, though looming. Maybe I’m not facing it right now, but I’m fully aware that I will have to someday. And on that day, my future and my today will become one in the same.



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