Once I was freaking out about my unknown future. Ok so maybe that’s happened more than once. On one of the many occasions where I was freaking out about my unknown future, a wise person reminded me that the future is made of all the present moments. Therefore the way to both get to your future as well as assure that ambiguous future is something you’ll enjoy, is to make each moment count. Make sure that your satisfied with what you are doing, right now, today. Because if the future is created by all of the tiny moments today, and if those moments are ones you have fully captured, then the future will be likewise fulfilling.
There are, of course, arguments against this claim. One might say perhaps, that sometimes it’s not possible to capitalize on each event throughout the day. Or what happens when entities beyond your control force you to live through a day -or even a year- of events you hope remain forever in the past and never repeated in your future? If the future is made up of the little moments, are you then doomed to a miserable or less-than-perfect living when you inevitably have regrets?
Fair point. I would therefore posit that the moments we live through each day are made up of action and reaction. Some times we are calling the shots, sometimes we are watching the shots being called and have to respond. If the future was a combination of the calling and watching, we would be left with the reality that we have very little control over our lives. In a way this is true; because we do have very little control over the calling and watching of day-to-day living. What has not yet been mentioned however, is the existence of choice. Throw your ability to choose into the pot alongside action and reaction, with calling and watching; and suddenly you’ve introduced hope back into the argument. Which is good, since I don’t think we can live without hope.
Despite the wavering levels of control you have on a day-to-day basis, the choices you make are the continuum amidst the crazy. It is the choice you make to smile at, instead of bitterly hit, the cashier when she tells you that your purchase of AA batteries cost as much as your lunch budget for the week. It is the choice you make to not press snooze in the morning because really, who wants to be jolted from sleep multiple times? It’s the choice to search for the positive in a situation that you have every excuse to complain over.
And there we’ve come full circle. It’s those moments of choosing that make up your future. At least, the abstract part of your future. You know, the part where you say “I want to be a ____ kind of person” or, “I want to be happy” and, “I want to be successful.” (Which is really where this whole discussion is aimed at, since anyone who looks at the concrete aspects of their future has a different process: “I want to be a lawyer” = get good grades, apply to law school, pull an El Woods, etc. Hard to achieve but at least the steps are easier to see). So if my where-do-I-see-myself-in-10-years plan says I want to be a person who is known to love others well, I can stand here 10 years prior and guarantee that happening if I choose to love in the little things each new hour of each new day. If I want to be someone who is self-motivated, I need to stop allowing my morning sleepiness decide my exercise routine.
“Nice thoughts but this won’t help me pinpoint my dream job,” You say. Maybe not intentionally, but if you are more aware of your choices throughout your day, you learn more about yourself. You will probably find yourself less confused about what actually happened yesterday, and probably ask yourself less often, “what am I doing?” As you become more and more your own person, you will realize more clearly what gifts you’ve been given. What it is you were born to do. Maybe that’s too epic. The point is, the most successful people are those who make goals, because they’re aware of a direction to head towards. The more you focus on being today who you want to become next month/year/etc., the more certain such a future will become a reality.
Which is why climbing mountains is such a big deal for me.
Never mind that I like mountains; and better yet, the view from the top. Never mind that I would live on top of a tall, tall mountain if I didn’t need a social life or groceries. Never mind that the beauty of the climb, the scenery, and the open air are often for me deeply spiritual. A long-term goal of mine is to be a person who doesn’t give up. And climbing a mountain is a good test of that character, since by it’s very existence it taunts you with it’s beauty accessible only through hard work. I won’t go into detail about all the benefits of climbing mountains. Therapeutic, spiritual, personal, character-building, sanity-creating, head-clearing, center-finding, morale-improving, physical-training…the list goes on. For me it’s the thrill of the climb and the opportunity to employ mind over body and win that keeps me going. And why the reward at the end is more (more!) than just the view. (and Seriously: what could be a better reward than this?)
The reward at the end is the view + the accomplishment. and if I’m consciously trying to pursue my future, I’ve also just successfully invested into the kind of person I want to become.
Life’s a crazy journey. I’m in a lot of pain because well, I just climbed a mountain. The chance came a bit earlier than I expected too, so I didn’t even train for very long. Whoops. But that’s all part of the story: sometimes you realize halfway through that it’s a lot further than you expected. Sometimes you want to quit. Sometimes the path turns into a cliff. Sometimes there’s a goat in front of you.
Mistakes happen, unfortunate events force themselves upon us. It’s true that the events in a person’s life shape who they become, and we are quick to judge someone based off their life’s circumstances. But it’s never purely the events that shape a person but rather how they chose to act or react that do a future make.
Now that I’ve written all that I’ll go back and look and see if it’s actually worth reading. Sometimes the thoughts in my head come out to reveal their true form: utter chaos. However ridiculous some of this may seem (though I think it’s rather not), I did climb the mountain outside my window finally. And I’m pretty excited to be able to say I did!
Hochstaufen: 1,771 meters (5,810 feet), a bunch of hours, a lot of sun, and an awesome story of my adventures in Deutschland.
Oh. To ease you out of my deep thoughts for the day; below you’ll find a Bavarian weather stone. It is not deep. But is has a lot of meaning. Enjoy 😀 and until next time, Cheers.
Stone is moving: storm
Stone is calm: no wind
Stone is wet: it’s raining
Stone is dry: cloudy
Stone is invisible: fog
Stone has a shadow: it’s sunny
Stone is white: snow
Stone has fallen: earthquake
Stone is missing: stolen