Though most of my more personal entries have thus far been based around my past, the road already travelled, or the present, the road I’m on, this one is not. This one concerns the future, the road ahead.
I do not like thinking about the road ahead, the future, because when I do I’m always left in a state of worry.
The first is those small but unavoidable changes in the near future, the curve in the road ahead. You know the change is uncontrollable, but you still fear the other side of the curve. What will be there?
Next are those big life-changing decisions you must make., the forks in the road. Where you must make the decision of either continuing on the path you are on or taking a new (and unknown) path.
And then there is the very distant future, the horizon and beyond. That far away and alien place to all of us.
A place sought after by many, feared by others. Also, the place where our mortal journey in this life ceases, the end of the road. Where we start the process of returning from whence we came. Dirt to dirt, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Some people spend vast amounts of their lives, planning out their late-life (or final) journeys. Some take things as they come, live in the moment. Others, find themselves stuck looking in the rearview mirror.
For me, it’s a little bit of both caught awkwardly in the middle (present). In the fairly distant rearview, I have the troubles that ruined my high school days, and a bit more baggage beyond that. And on the road ahead, I face those dreaded blind curves and forks in the road. And even when my life is pretty much running on straight away, I have a view of the horizon, and beyond. And so I’m reduced to living largely day by day.
Day to day living is nothing new for me.
I have never thought too far in advance, for as far back as I can remember. But in the darkest days of my grade 9 years, it became very true, when the only thing carrying me forward, was my imminent death. Being that almost a decade later, I’m sitting here typing this, you obviously know that it never came. But after a while, that’s how I got through day-to-day life.
And even after all the rough stuff was left behind in my grade 10 year (and later), the mindset stuck. I did my school work, and for the most part, got passing grades, but I never put a whole lot of care into it (something that is reflected in my transcripts, when compared to my graduating grades of 2011). School was more of a place for socialization, a place where I got to see all my friends, then it was a place for life preparation. I did not give a fuck about school spirit, or pride, or anything of the such, it was a place for visitation and nothing more (no extracurricular activities, no VOLUNTARY participation in pride events like prep rally’s, and I even destroyed/spoiled my student council voting ballet, when told that the vote was not voluntary. I remember seeing their little “presentations”, and knowing that none of them gave a FUCK about me or my friends, so I used my ballet to say what I thought of all of them lol).
And then, there were those “mandatory” trips to the keystone center for the career symposium. I flat out HATED those, because it was like a huge showcase of things i would never be or do. But since attendance was not optional, I spent the afternoon there, collecting all kinds of brochures, pens, pencils and whatever other trinkets and paper I encountered, running on autopilot. My teachers were happy, as I was apparently making full use of the time, and taking it all very seriously. When in reality, the bags of booklets and other stuff went into the first dumpster I encountered on my walk home.
At some point in time by maybe mid to late grade 11, I had started to leave behind the old friend that was my suicidal tendencies. I began to actually try to excel in school, repair the damage that I had caused myself in the previous couple of years. But time and again, I would hit brick walls, not being able to fall back on what I “learned” in previous grades, because I was too busy hoping to die soon, to bother caring for school work.
That summer I turned 18 just after school was out, and ended up working a summer job, after my father in no uncertain terms, told me he was no longer getting paid to take care of me, so ide better find a job. Though I found out later that due to him not doing up his taxes, he was not getting the tax credit ANYWAY, so it largely didn’t apply. I hated my dad at the time, for his extreme self-centeredness, but I’m glad to say that didn’t last (we talk now. I have more empathy for him, knowing now how severe his depression is, and how shitty a card he was dealt in life).
So, in the past, I had this stuff.
And then there is the road ahead.
I remember back in grade 9, my consumer math teacher told the class to make a list of goals we wanted to attain in life. What I remember most, was him saying that if you do not have goals, you may still find yourself pumping gas at age 30. At the time, I do not recall what I ended up putting on the list.
Being the stage of life, I’m guessing “Graduation”, “Drivers License” were likely on there.
But being my depressed mind frame at the time, I do know that none of the goals were actual goals, just filler for the paper. And if I know how I was, I probably throw the paper away the moment I left the class.
That year, I did that to pretty much every pre-con-sieved notion and belief I had previously held.
It has been almost a decade since, and this teacher’s warning is in my mind, loud as ever. Probably because I’m almost half way to 30, and still have yet to figure out what the hell I’m doing in life.
People have been reminding me to “think of the future”, for as long as I remember. My family used to be really persistent, though they have since quit. My dad has replaced them though.
When it comes to the future, the obvious thing to do would be to make some goals and work towards them. Easy to say, easy to write down on paper, attainable (with a bit of work) for most people. But when it comes to that, I run into the same problem as I did with the first goal list. Which is the inability to think ahead, any distance.
Previous to May of 2010, I was unable to think ahead very far, just because I had never envisioned myself having a future, to begin with. Though seemingly anything was possible in the eyes of most, I just could not see it. Before that, I at least had the blanket of “death”, as a beacon forward. Once you drop that, though arguably a good thing, it left me with just a blank.
To use the road analogy, I had a clear view behind me, a clear view of what was around me (the present and very near future). But in the road ahead, was a whiteout.
I guess a “blank” is not the best word to use to describe how I see my future because, in reality, everyone’s futures are blank. But a good word would be, unclear. Most people have clear or even semi-clear goals for the future ahead of them. I just see nothing. Like driving in pea soup fog.
I mentioned pre-May 2010, because, at that time, I went through a drastic change of perspective in life, brought on by the Deepwater Horizon Disaster (described in a previous entry, https://mbman.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/the-2010-bp-oil-disaster/).
Though my world was upside down for many months afterwards, I’m happy to say now, that I’m now firmly grounded in reality. Well, as in reality as im going to get anyway LOL.
During this period of time, I feared a great many “imminent” threats to the planet (humanity), most of which were related to the oil leak. I later on discarded pretty much all of it. Though I know that the Gulf of Mexico will probably never be the same again, it’s not the doomsday many were fearing (hoping?) for.
But that said, I learned of other threats to humanity that are not quite as imminent presay, but threats no less.
One is climate change. Another is peak oil. And of course, there are many other things that could go wrong as a result, or independent from, the 2 previous situations (such as some sort of global war, and who knows what else).
Which results in an interesting situation for me, caught in the middle.
I don’t know how I should plan my future. As I see it, there are 3 possible paths:
1.) Plan for the now, assume no change is imminent (save for retirement etc)
2.) Make do in the present, but plan for drastic changes later (though not sure how one would go about that)
3.) Take the exit strategy
I’ve taken some steps in the short term, in terms of the future, in the form of building up a bit of a savings cushion (it’s relatively small now, but will build up over time). My current savings schedule is a little bit painful with my current job situation, but I’m hoping to get out of that situation soon.
Right now, I do not have what you would call a “retirement” plan in place, I’m not putting any of my money aside for that purpose, because in the back of my mind, I still have this nagging doubt that it will be useful by the time that time/stage of my life comes around (that’s under the assumption that I make it that far).
My current savings plan is mostly a rainy day fund (possibly for a future big purchase, such as a much-needed vacation), or an emergency fund, should it come to that.
But even so, it’s hard to go forward with these doubts on the mind all the time.
I guess I’m looking for an answer. Some sort of guide, to tell me what my best bets are.
But until such a person materializes, I must live in the present.
I must find a way to enjoy my life in the here and now, so that even if my future is ripped away by health complications or otherwise, I can say at least, that the whole journey was not one of regret. A waste of 2, 3, 4 decades.