"You have to wait until tomorrow to find out what tomorrow will bring."
Our basic animal instinct is to survive. After that, I'd say our basic human instinct is to live. That's not the mere act of being alive, but the much more powerful act of actually living--creating love, exploring our earth, finding a fulfilling path, meeting some amazing souls along the way, and maybe passing down your experience to others who will carry your torch.
Or to say all that in a word: happiness.
But there are a lot of obstacles in the way of our path to happiness. There are the obstacles our society has created through social and economic constructs and those we create in our own mind. The problems of society are big picture, and we should all do our part to right those wrongs. But that's not what this blog is really about--this blog is about each of us, individually, doing all we can do make our personal world a better one.
One of the biggest obstacles we create for ourselves comes from the world of the unknown. If you think about it, this problem runs deep: fear of what the future might entail leads to worry and anxiety, fear of how our decisions are perceived by others leads to indecisiveness and regret, fear of the how those same decisions will play out in the long-term leads to doubt and second-guessing.
I think a lot about the unknown. Sometimes this is good thing--pondering our universe and it's endless possibilities almost hurts your brain, but it's a good hurt. Visualizing yourself in a successful and happy place can give you the positive affirmation you need to help get you there.
But spending too much time in the realm of the unknown is a slippery slope. There are only a few precious hours of life we get every day, and spending them lost in a sea of contemplation about what tomorrow may bring--how a particular scenario will play out, or how someone will feel about you in a week, where your relationship will be a year from now--that'll just drive you insane.
Worrying about the unknown is a fool's errand where we squander our time attempting to predict the future instead of mindfully focusing on the present. It's a wild goose chase as the mind of today scrambles to try and capture some insight into the mind of tomorrow. And just when we think we've captured the goose--that we've somehow figured it all out--reality comes and plucks the goose away, proving to us once again that all our predictions were totally misguided.
We all struggle with the unknown. Those of us whose lives seem stable--relationships, jobs, cars, dogs, white picket fences, 2.5 kids--worry about all that falling apart come tomorrow morning. Those of us whose lives seem to be in flux--breakups, fights, unemployment, financial woes, shared custody--worry how to ever find the relative peace of stability again. And no matter how our lives are perceived by others, most of us don't fall into either camp but rather find ourselves somewhere in between.
It's only natural, because in each of our individual pursuits of happiness, there will always be bumps along the way--there will be good times and bad. We can use our time and energy worrying and wallowing in the bad times, or we can take a deep breath and be here now instead.
It’s time to think about what we can control in the present and start controlling it. The only way to create a better tomorrow is to use your energy working on a better today.
The unknown is a powerful force that can pull us in many unforeseen and unmindful directions, if we let it. So don't let it. Starting right now, make a conscious commitment to set the unknown aside. Let it stay in the darkness until that one day in the future when it's finally real, when it's finally known.
And in the meantime, live your best life, be your best self, love all that you can, and understand that being happy here and now does way more to forecast your future than all your best predictions combined.