The feeling of excitement for the future is an emotion everyone can relate to, but we cannot get stuck in that feeling because it can cloud what we want to accomplish today. Whether it is the thought and anticipation of getting married, having your dream job, or simply the expectation of the things you want to accomplish in life, you have probably felt the powerful force that is imagining your future. It might have pulled you out of a deep depression, getting you through another day, or it might have just made your average day that much better. This feeling is very powerful, and anything that is powerful can be dangerous.
There is often a strong, ongoing battle between being content with what we have now and striving for what we want. Wanting more than what you have is not a bad thing, but not being content with your life at all times is not healthy either. If only I could lose ten pounds, then I would be happy in life. Would you? Would being ten pounds lighter make you any happier or more fulfilled? If you are ill contented with your life because of a little extra weight, I am sure you will find another “road block” in your life after you lose weight. Now that you lost ten pounds, you notice you are not as tan as you want to be, that your house is not clean enough, or that you have an unhealthy habit that takes up too much time. The goal should not be any more of the reward than the journey itself.
I often find that we are too busy expecting and anticipating the future things we want and are working towards that which becomes our reality. We no longer define ourselves by what we are or what we are doing. Instead we define ourselves by what we hope to become and what we want to be doing. This is dangerous; we project ourselves into the future, often to escape what we are experiencing now, only to have greater ease of mind and to feel more accomplished with ourselves.
Dreaming about the future is certainly not a bad thing; however, without it, there would be no hope for people in bad situations. When it becomes the reality in which a person lives, it becomes a very bad thing. It makes them very ineffective in achieving their dreams, because why actually accomplish your dreams if you have already done so in your mind?
Since both extremes on this spectrum are devastating, what should we do? Balance. Live for tomorrow, while enjoying today; if today is terrible, live in tomorrow. Do not get stuck in the future because it is very hard to return. We must remind ourselves that we should do what we can to help others now while looking forward to the benefits everyone will receive in the future. We cannot just hope for the future to get better, or it never will. However we cannot just focus on the now without looking at what we want to accomplish, or we will lose perspective and hope.