This morning I took some time to complete the first challenge-task-exercise (whatever you are calling it). I got my paper ready, some pens to write with, turned on some instrumental music low, and put my phone face down. I followed the instructions and went through the Present, the Future, and then the Past. Below you can see an image of mine, and sorry for the scribbly handwriting!
The Present was rather quick and easy as I currently have a few things I’m just dissatisfied with or disappointed by in life. I wrote (in a clearer, less shorthand form):
- Work situation (I dislike my current job and am struggling to get a new one).
- Minimal savings currently.
- Insecurities (primarily connected to my looks).
- In a rut of work, eat, sleep, and repeat, leaving me feeling unfulfilled.
These four things are my primary and daily struggle points. I dwell on them in some capacity every day. Within each of these contains other things and issues, so they are like broader categories. And for me all four of these are very closely connected. The more unhappy I am in work, and the longer it takes for me to find a new job, the more insecure I get about that area of my life and the less enthused I become in general. So I allow myself to fall in a rut of a boring and mundane routine. As a result I don’t try hard to budget, though I don’t spend my money unwisely I don’t bother to transfer anything to a savings or anything like that. And then my insecurities alone cause a daily grief of worrying about myself in comparison to others and their life situations, and being disappointed with how I look.
When you look at your Present listed items, can you see connections between them too?
The Future caused a bit of anxiety to complete and honestly made me get a bit emotional, which I expected! The Future meant writing down my fears, the things that I worry won’t turn out at all like I hope they will for my life. Mine were:
- Being stuck at an unfulfilling job (meaning job after job of dissatisfaction).
- That I won’t be able to travel and explore like I want to (and have wanted to for years).
- I’ll still be insecure with myself and that it will affect my life negatively.
- Feel I have nothing to show for in life once I’m old (that I’ll have stayed in a rut and won’t have great stories or experiences to share with potential kids/grandkids).
- Live a life full of regrets not memories.
When I’m old and on my death bed I don’t want to look back at my life with regret, which as you can see all five are closely connected to. Now I realize that might seem morbid, but I don’t look at it that way. Our existence has a time limit, and I don’t want to have felt I lost or wasted or missed out on a lot of things during the time I have. I don’t want to continue to feel so insecure about myself that it begins to have detrimental effects on my life. I don’t want to miss out on things I love, such as the traveling or the outdoors. And by getting to do those things I’ll have something to show for and tell future generations about.
Do your Future worries relate to your Present?
The Past made me stumble for a moment because I knew if I wasn’t careful it would become a negativity session rather than a reflection. I made myself pause and told myself not to be nit-picky here. So I wrote:
- Regret many of my dating relationship (many were extremely unhealthy).
- Insecurities (these basically ruled my mind in the past).
- (Back then) I worried about making others happy instead of making myself happy.
- I didn’t go for things I really wanted to (like interests, schools, etc).
- I didn’t embrace myself (or allow myself to really be me) I hid myself instead.
The Past made me shake my head, if only it would have been possible to time travel, write myself a letter of important things, and mail it to past me. So the young me could read the letter and not let insecurities and worries dictate my decisions. Part of the reason I didn’t go for things I wanted was because I was worried it would disappoint others or that I would fail despite my interest. I got into multiple unhealthy relationships, not knowing at first they would be jerks, but ignoring what should have been warning signs because they seemed like the best that would ever care about me. Despite the fact their “care” was highly misplaced, if existent at all. I listened to their negative and abusive statements that I would never find anyone better, that no one would ever love me, that no one would ever want to put up with me, etc. These things only fueled my insecurities more and made me retract and hide more than I already did.
What about the Past, see the connections?
Now hopefully this exercise worked for you the same way it did for me. Not everything will overlap but if you look closely you’ll see the Past, Present, and Future are all connected. The worries might present themselves in slightly different ways for you but you’ll see a root similarity between the three time realms and what you wrote.
Now! There was another point to all of this, besides to show you this connection across time. The easiest way for me to explain it is through a little math…
The Past = The Past The Present = The Present The Future = The Future
The Past + The Present ≠ The Future (In other words, your future can be impacted BUT it doesn’t mean that how your past was and how your present is, will dictate what happens in the future.)
Boom! How is that for a solid summation of this exercise!?
Your Past has “gone by in time and no longer exists.” Your Present is “existing, being, and occurring right now, currently.” And your Future “is to be or to come.” Your Past negatively affects your Present if you allow it, and negatively affects your Future if you allow it. Your Present is affected by what you do here and now, today. Your Future contains so many other things that are going to happen far beyond what your Past and Present hold.
The Past is but a memory, don’t let it control your here and now and don’t let it control what you want your life to be like. If you have a Future you want, strive for it, enjoy the Present, and f**k the Past.
Until next time, think about how to make your Present a little happier and enjoy your day…