At certain points in your life, you meet a crossroad… I am currently at this landmark. Of recent it’s been a bumpy road, and the route looks alluringly smoother on the other side, but I feel the need to push hard on the brakes for a second and bring this extended metaphor to a halt.
Allow me to open by saying that the concept of the future perplexes and contorts me – especially when I am currently living in what has previously been a future. Let me explain: Today I left secondary school education, finished my exams and let out a massive sigh of relief. This is a moment I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and it’s oddly underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I'm completely happy, but I feel as though things are never as great as you build them up to be in the fragile utopia of expectation.
I’ve reached a period where many of the things I’ve thought about for a long are actually happening, in actual real life. I think perhaps we build things up in our heads in excitement so much that we forget to appreciate it when it really happens, and that’s kind of sad. Without dipping face first into the suffocating bag of cheese-balls that is a Google search for empowering quotes (Enter: “Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present”), today I wanted to share some word-vomit surrounding the concept of the future.
For me, the future means potential. It means new beginnings, new experiences and something to look forward to. However the future is a somewhat frightening prospect too, perhaps at risk of the past repeating itself, or perhaps the fear of it being the same as the present. It’s funny how this interminable entity, this infinity of potential, can mean something so different to every person. When you think about the future, you may envision it in a completely contrasting way to how I do.
The future is aspiration; an occasional and uplifting escape from reality. It can be a breath of fresh air, or a return to the harsh, pungent fumes you used to smell. To me, the future is a magical and uncharted territory where I can deposit my dreams and responsibilities for later use, however I’m now hurtling towards it at six-hundred miles per hour. This terrifies me. Like, a lot.
Through life you’re constantly asked who you are and where you want to be in the future. Where do you see yourself in five, ten years? What are you doing? Who is standing beside you? Who isn’t? But what if you actually don’t know where you want to be? For many, the future is a clear route with no bumps or curves, not a pothole in sight – it’s plain sailing – but for others it’s trying to navigate a labyrinth of possibility with your eyes tightly shut.
However I think that the idea of not knowing what the future will bring is all part of the fun. You don’t watch a TV series from back to front, and you don’t read the last page of a book first. Sometimes the unknown, uncharted and uncertain is part of what makes life worth living. You keep turning the page and you keep bing-watching that TV series because you simply have no idea what's to come. Discovering yourself and your future, paving your own pathway and making bridges when necessary, is all part of the excitement of life.
It seems that the most fearful of people are the ones with the most imaginative minds. They’re geniuses without distraction, focusing on all possibilities of the future at once. Is it better to try and block out the future? Or is it in fact important because it means that you take into account consequence more-so?
I find it peculiar to comprehend the idea that in an instant a moment switches from being the future to being the past; how a moment can be anticipated for years and years to suddenly go by in a flash. So now I find myself at a crossroad. I’m choosing my future and making decisions which will affect me for the rest of my life. I think about this a lot, so I wanted to sort of write it down and figure out my thoughts.
Perhaps what is most important is to appreciate right now. I want to remember this time in my life and make the most of it, without wishing it away by constantly dreaming about what is next to come. Right now is important, because it’s the only right now you’ll get. With this in mind, I've written a letter. I've composed my jumbled thoughts to a presentation of words. However this letter is unlike any other I've ever sent, because this letter is addressed only to me. Future me. The Jack of this confusing future who will want to remember these moments. I don't know when I'll read this letter. It could be five, ten, fifteen years time. However I hope I read that letter in a time where I'm content. In the future where I've achieved the things I want to achieve and seen the things I want to see. It's weird imagining your future self and who they'll be. All I know is that I'm going to work hard to make sure that future-me reads this letter and smiles.
Thanks for reading this and for reaching the bottom without sighing and clicking the magic 'x' at the top of the page. Hopefully in the editing and re-drafting stage I've managed to wrestle these thoughts into something coherent. If not, sorry about that but we can't all be Beyonce all the time. Sometimes you've got to be Britney Spears in 2007 and rock it regardless. Thanks very much for reading, until next time, goodbye!
18th June 2015
By Jack Edwards