Past or future? I know which one I prefer

Today’s Bloganuary prompt: “Do you spend more time thinking about the future or the past? Why?”

There’s virtue in both. I view myself as someone who at the very least strives to be self aware. Your mileage may vary with regard to how I’m doing at that, but it’s something I actively work on. As a result, I spend time thinking about how I have acted in the past, and how I might act in similar circumstances in the future. Or, more simply, I spend time thinking about how to improve myself. That’s not everything, though. I also do a lot of thinking about the future in both healthy and unhealthy ways.

My therapist tells me it’s dangerous to futurecast. That is, thinking about what might happen isn’t worth your time, and it probably actively hurts your efforts on working things out in the present. For me, when I cast out into the future, I experience this. I get upset at a situation that not only do I have no control over, it hasn’t actually happened yet. If you’ve spent time in therapy, or just working out issues yourself in life, you might understand what’s bad about being upset over something that hasn’t happened and may never happen. No good comes of it.

Bad future isn’t my only future, though. I spend a lot of time thinking about my plans for life after work. That seems to be the overarching theme for me at this stage of life. I am most interested in the day I get to hang it all up, and devote the rest of my life to endeavors I choose. That’s a happy future, and one that only upsets me when I think about how well our government functions. What makes that happy future just out of reach for many people, and possibly me until a much later date, is that we don’t have a government whose primary purpose is to take care of its citizens. Our system consists of a group that is actively working to hurt regular people in the name of control and endless money for the already wealthy. It fucking sucks. So yeah, even in my paragraph about my happy future, I can’t get over how the world works to make it more difficult to achieve.

The past, is always on my mind. Particularly now, when a lot of my time is spent thinking about how mistakes I have made can be rectified, or how I can overlook what I can’t change and try to live in the present with a plan to act better. It’s the reason I have a therapist. We work through finding something in life that caused me to think in a certain way, or react in a certain way, and we work through how to improve those reactions and thoughts. It has helped tremendously with some issues I face. It also means spending a lot of time in the past, remembering situations or rethinking what something we heard as a child might have meant, and how we acted upon a perhaps incorrect meaning of something. I do this when I’m in the office with her, and through journaling and meditation.

Sometimes we come across something that is upsetting. What is different with working on the past versus thinking about the future is that the things in the past we can try to understand and it’s possible we will understand them. We can’t with things in the future, and that becomes a frustrating and useless exercise. At least, that’s been my experience.

While I came to this prompt with a very sure idea that I would equally appreciate my thoughts about both the past and the future, allowing myself to just write it out has shown me that I probably spend more time thinking about the past than I do the future, and I prefer it that way.

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January 05, 2024
Tags: bloganuary | past | future | time
Categories: Bloganuary