I went for a beautiful walk around Pasadena yesterday evening, and as I looked around at families, couples, homes and front yards, my mind wandered to the future. Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks) where upon waking up, you already have a sense of worry or dread? You’re not alone. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how so many people talk about being afraid of the future. We often assume that this fear comes from uncertainty, but I’d like to challenge you to look at it a bit differently.
What if you aren’t afraid of the unknowns? What if, instead, you are feeling this fear and anxiety because you know exactly what the future holds? You are afraid of the future because it is already staring you in the face.
Now, I’m not talking about you being psychic or magically all-knowing. What I do mean, though, is that we are more habitual than we realize. What’s much scarier to me is to imagine that 30 years from now, I would have learned nothing — made the same choices in the same area — remained hurt, unforgiving, or even miserable. The truth is, we can choose to outgrow our victim mentalities and seemingly crippling life circumstances. And while an expansive evolution may not happen overnight, every step we take contributes to who we will continue to become.
If you find yourself dreading each day while making the same choices for each new day, we can safely assume that a week, year, or decade from now, you will most likely have similar feelings. If you wake up every morning thinking about how much you hate your job, home, or toxic relationship, but never make a shift in your direction, I know what your life will look like in a decade. It will eerily resemble what you are living today. Why? Because nothing has changed. It requires bold and courageous shifting on our end to cultivate change.
Over the past couple of years, I have had to make some excruciatingly difficult decisions and let go of so many worlds, people, and identities in order for me to become a healthy, thriving human again. There were so many instances when all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and mope. I could have chosen to live in my defeat, and for a grieving period of course I did. But if I hadn’t chosen to leave that state of being, I would still be a devastating and powerless shell of a woman today.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and defeated and choose to stay in our current routine — allowing life to push us around like waves in a massive body of water. It’s easy to feel so out of control and so exhausted that we don’t know what to do next.
My best advice: just do something. Anything. Turn around. Go in a new direction. Surprise yourself. Make one small change in an area of your life. Quit something. Start something brand new. The tiniest areas of growth can bring radical hope. Here’s to an unknown future. Let’s celebrate it.