It can be really difficult to appreciate the ending of things. Not just the end, but also the time leading up to the end. Personally, I love new beginnings and new challenges, but once I sense them coming, it’s hard to resist the urge to drop everything I’m doing now to get there faster. This waiting period can turn the present stale, no matter how good or rewarding it used to feel.
This week is my last week of work before I go on spring break. It’s also the week before the spring musical, of which I am the assistant director. No matter how excited I am for the musical, or how ready I am to bring my students quality content before break, that’s a little tarnished by the view of spring break slowly approaching (slowly, slowly approaching).
Whenever I catch myself anticipating the future a little too much, and bypassing my present, I have to remind myself of three things.
At one time, where you are at is probably where you wanted to be.
This isn’t always the case, because life is weird and hard and difficult, but you can almost always look back at a time, however foreign it looks today, and understand that for some reason you wanted to be there. Think about what you were wearing 5, 10, even 15 years ago. Most of us wouldn’t dare repeat those outfits (I was wearing plaid on plaid and no one asked me if I was okay). The way we live our lives is similar. And even though now you might be anticipating the next thing, remember that something in you, at some point, probably wanted to be where you are right now.
No one can live in the future.
Living in the future simply means missing out on the present. No one can jump ahead, except during Daylight Savings (topical joke!). The future may be filled with hopes and expectations, but it’s missing a crucial element: us. We’re just not there yet, and we shouldn't live with the dangerous illusion that filling our time now with daydreams about the future will bring about the future we actually want.
Your present is a foundation that your future needs in order for it to be what you want it to be.
If you are not building into your present, what will your future be built on? Your next job or your next relationship won’t be what you want if you’re not preparing yourself for that right now. My spring break won’t be as recharging and productive as I want it to be if I spend all this week complaining about how it’s not here yet. Instead, I’m going to hammer through this week, getting work done and freeing up my break for other things. The foundation your future is built on is only as solid as your present investments.
Your present matters because it's all you currently have. We should live with the future in mind, but not as the focus of our present. Whenever I find myself focusing too much on the future, I have to remember that what I'm seeing isn't going to happen unless I shift my focus to the present, and take steps to create my vision today.