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The early years of life are spent focused on the future: learning manners, coddling dreams, gaining education and experience. We think often about what we want to become.
Then, we graduate.
We become less focused on who we want to be and more on who we are. Perhaps, being saddled with debt might prioritize the now, or gaining an understanding of our new reality. We’re practically adolescents again—wanting to hold tightly to our parties, but also wanting the new car smell of things we could never before afford—so we straddle this fence between children and adults.
Some friends take the leap by standing tall on the top fence post and leaping into the mirage of what’s to come only to realize that the mirage was a dense fog hiding the unknown. Life can no longer be fixed with a shot of Jagermeister. When they’ve beat themselves up over the mistake, they come crawling back to the fence, barely able to support the unexpected weight upon their shoulders. The future came calling well before they thought the check was due, and the bill broke the bank.
Others never come back to the fence. Instead, they sit on the hillside watching the reels of a life that they once had and wish they could have back. Some invisible tether keeps them chained to a rock on the backside of the hill. Their future has them locked in a lifelong, self-imposed cell.
And then there are those like me who’ve been balancing on the fence for so long that it’s difficult for us to leave. We’re so focused on the now that we’ve forgotten how to think about our futures. We chuckle when the thought of taking a class or changing careers for some opportunity that might present itself years down the road. Why bother when I’m free to change—right here, right now—every single day. There are no significant others, spouses, or kids to hold us down—a freedom that keeps many of us just as isolated from the future as the rest.
How does this manifest itself? For me, I too often think about the things that I would lose if I decided to pursue something that might actually give me what I really want. Thoughts are clouded in the now by the required sacrifice that accomplishment requires.
Yes, I wonder…