DUN DUN DUUUUUNN!!! *Insert spacey-sounding music here*
I’ve been thinking about the future a lot lately. I don’t really know why. Seems more appropriate for when I’m closer to graduating college or taking some major life step (which I’m not right now–still got a year left, at least). Maybe it’s because there have been a lot of birthdays in my family recently and everyone is becoming older and one year closer to life’s end and when that happens I’ll be older and in a different place in life and–isn’t the way my mind works just grand? That’s rhetorical. Anyway, future.
When other people around my age hear the term future, that spacey music I mentioned plays, or they envision something to the extent of this meme:
The future is viewed as this terrifying, unknown time in life–because it’s unknown, uncertain. But, if you ask me (which you didn’t), I say it doesn’t have to be. Now, if you’re following along, something may not sit right here; I have social anxiety–often caused by uncertainty–so I be equally if not more terrified of that “swirling vortex of terror” that is the future, right? Not exactly. Well, kind of.
Don’t get me wrong, uncertain future can seem scary, but what I consider scary regarding the future, likely differs from that of the majority. The future situations that exacerbate my social anxiety are, for one, social, and more of the near-future variety. Say I’ve signed up for a new set of classes for the following semester at school or have just accepted a new job position, I’m likely really stoked about those experiences! I’m going to be learning new things, solidifying my career path, etc.–how is that not exciting? Here, it’s important to keep in mind these situations involve actions that do not have immediate repercussions. Choosing classes for a following term occurs months before those classes actually begin at my school. Thus, excitement ensues. Until time brings me closer and closer to those new situations and then–
What do you know? My new classes/job/other new experience begins tomorrow (or very, very, VERY soon)! This is where the spacey music and Crush meme come into play for me. This is when I begin to experience what the others in my age group have been feeling all along.
My peers are terrified of being thrown into the “real world” after graduation, not knowing which career they’ll fall into, where they’ll be living, how to pay taxes, etc. WAY before it actually happens. I mean, yeah that’s pretty terrifying… I guess… But that seems so way in the distant future to my socially anxious self that these sorts of things aren’t worth worrying about yet, as I spend so much of my time worrying about the more immediate situations–especially if they’re social.
What may seem like an extensive digression was actually an extensive digression, but I did have some advice embedded in there. With my example about choosing classes or beginning a job, I was very excited about both opportunities; I saw the positives in those opportunities. Sure I may not 100% know what I want to do (does anyone? like really, completely know?) and it very well may not be whatever this job entails, but through this experience, I’ll be able to narrow down my interests and figure out what I do want to do with my life. Or taxes. I still don’t know how to do them (at least not by myself) and probably won’t for another couple years, but eventually I will grasp the general concept–enough that I will be able to do this adult-y thing independently. For the most part. And that’s pretty cool, right?
I think the biggest hurdles people face when thinking about the future are its uncertainty and, with that, the potential to fail. Yes, the future is uncertain and yes, that can be terrifying. Uncertainty is the worst. But just because something is uncertain, doesn’t mean failure is the only possible outcome. Unless you’re into the whole self-fulfilling prophecy theory… It all comes down to mindset. If you choose to view the future as a “swirling vortex of terror,” you’re going to be overwhelmed with worry. That’s no fun–trust me. But you can choose to look at the future with eager eyes, envisioning all the happy possibilities in your wake. Or maybe, you can compromise, pulling from both mindsets. That’s likely the most realistic (though not as uplifting),so I’ll leave you with this:
I made a meme! I know, so exciting! Break has given me too much spare time…