Future Tripping

“Future tripping” def.  Thinking, worrying about the future which destroys your now joy.

We’ve all done it. Some of us are card-carrying experts. Here is my future trip brain.

  1. What will life be like when the youngest graduates 2 years from now?
  2. What job will I be qualified to do when I start working again?
  3. Will I ever be able to work a ‘real’ job again?

Note: Really? What will life be like in 2 years and what job will I have if I am ever cleared to work again?  That seems like a worthy waste of my brain space. <insert sarcasm>

  1. If we have to move how will I ever be  able to handle the stress?
  2. Who will pack the house when we move?
  3. What if we can’t afford for packers? The chaos of moving is too much and will drown me.
  4. When should we dig the egress windows in the basement so our house qualifies as having four bedrooms instead of three and up the resale?

Note: We are not even considering a move! Its one of those “maybe” “someday” topics.

  1. What if I never lose weight? They say extra weight contributes to earlier physical demise in later years.
  2. Should I have my bone density tested?
  3. I wonder if my doctor was right to say I only need a mammogram every other year?
  4. Will mental illness mean my brain will “let loose” earlier than my peers? I read that somewhere.

Note: I am in my mid-forties.  Perhaps end of life planning could wait for another day.

  1. Should I spray the cobwebs off the side of the house?
  2. If I spray the cobwebs off the house will the windows freeze shut
  3. Should I kill that bit of weeds under the fire pit? If I don’t will it catch on fire when the kids are having a fire outside.
  4. What if the heater doesn’t work while my husband is away
  5. What is wrong with the refrigerator door that it won’t close all the way

This list is not even close to exhaustive. My brain is an endless supply of concerns and queries.  Unbelievable. With every bit of attention I give these crazy thoughts I steal energy, focus and joy from the present day. My future tripping takes all the color out of an otherwise beautiful day. Perhaps there is a reason we call it the ‘present’. It is a gift and I don’t want to spoil it.

Mental health is not just about identifying illness any more than learning to play music is just being able to identify music notes on a page.  Similarly, just because I know future tripping is damaging to the emotions of the present day doesn’t mean I know how to control my thoughts.  That takes practice and luckily I have this day to practice living in joy, contentment, and gratitude. It’s all about controlling my thoughts and emotions so they become positive contributors, not distractions to this day.