This post is sort of a follow-up to my post yesterday on goal-setting, in which I talked about the difficulty I have in setting goals for the future.
The past includes good stuff in the more distant past and a lot of not so good stuff in the more recent past. I used to be someone who was generally pretty optimistic about the future, but depression has robbed me of that. It’s been two years since I was last in full remission, and I’m not sure if that’s something I’ll ever be able to get back to. Maybe the future will hold good things and maybe it won’t, but there’s no positive that I anticipate with any sort of certainty. It’s hard to set goals for the future when I’m not certain what I’ll be capable of, and it’s hard to set career goals when there are some major factors outside of my control that are keeping me stuck where I am now.
All this means I’ve been in a holding pattern of living in the present. From a mindfulness perspective I suppose that’s a good thing, but what if I’m using it as an avoidance strategy? Avoidance has become a very close friend of mine. The past holds a lot of pain, but even if I try to focus further back to a more positive past, I’m reminded of how much I have lost. Looking to the future is terrifying, and something that I actively avoid doing. Even though I’m not feeling suicidal, I don’t have a particularly strong wish to carry on living. I carry on because my body keeps on living, but if I knew I was going to be killed by lightning strike tomorrow I’d be fine with that.
So I live for today because it’s the most bearable place to be. Perhaps that’s a good thing, perhaps it’s not, but it keeps me moving forward one today after another.
What kind of relationship do you have with the past, present, and future?