I am a bit afraid of you. I’m not sure how you’re going to treat me. I don’t know if you’re going to be kind to me,
be mean to me, help me accomplish my dreams, or trip me, laugh when I fall, and kick dirt on me as you walk away. I’m feeling anxious that I can’t quite gauge how we’ll get along.
In the past, I’ve naively run to greet you – laughing, anticipating how together we’ll do great things. I’ve embraced you, felt the awesome potential we have…and then cried as the potential I was so chuffed about crumbled away to nothing and I limped to the finish line, hoping that next year – you – would be different. It makes me a little bit unwilling to get entirely excited about meeting you again.
Remember that time I dreamed we’d change the world you and I, and I threw myself enthusiastically into doing just that? You just melted away. You didn’t help. You didn’t even stay. I thought I worked so hard that year and had almost nothing to show for it at the end except some experiences I hadn’t really planned on and no way to recapture my sense of enthusiasm. I think someone once said, “I am successful, or I learn. I do not fail.” I’m sure he meant well, but I’m also pretty sure he wasn’t talking about how it feels to have a whole lot of learning and not much success. So, you’ll forgive me, I trust, if you notice me looking at you a little bit sideways. It’s not that I blame you, exactly, but I don’t think you were very helpful, either. You marched on, as I floundered and lost my way. I wasted so much time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong that I couldn’t get any traction on all the hopes I had when we first met.
Really, we should be invincible together, you and I. There’s so much untapped potential in both of us. You stretch out in front of us, unmarked and full of promise, just waiting for me to get my groove on. I’m feeling a bit bad about hesitating to make the commitment. Isn’t that what you, the Future, needs? A commitment? A plan? Maybe I need to apologize for equivocating here, but let’s face it, every new year I’ve totally embraced our potential, charging toward you with nary a second thought. I’ve been let down so many times; you weren’t the help I thought you’d be, trickling away without any notice while I was trying to solve some problem. If you’d just waited for me, it could have worked out differently a lot of those times, I think. But you didn’t and now I’m hesitant.
As I write this letter, I’m realizing that I don’t have a whole lot of choice but to find some way of trusting you enough to invest in dreams again. In fact, come to think of it, I’m wondering if this struggle is my problem. All that time and nothing accomplished. I had trouble getting started and so I dithered, and you quietly carried on without me. I guess it’s not you, it’s me. You’ve truly been the same every year making no promises except that I can rely upon you, the Future, to offer me the opportunity to accomplish what I said we would do. The same offer you make to everyone to do – or not – what they choose. You’re the one who is reliable, and I’m the one who flakes out.
This year, dear Future, let’s make that different. I’ll be mindful and remember that you can’t wait for me.
Carpe diem in 2019.
Dr. Susannah is a leading psychologist, registered professional counsellor and Master Practitioner in Clinical Counselling based in Canada. For more information, please follow @DrSusannah on Twitter and Instagram and stay tuned for her latest news.
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