I, wife of 1 husband, mommy of 3 young children, maker of all food and knower of where all things are, found myself alone in the garden yesterday, pulling weeds and grass that looks better than my mowed lawn. And it was while I was alone that I found myself once again thinking of the past. But this time was different. This time, I had enough alone time to get from the past to the future.
Its a long weekend off for daddy and the kids have missed him so much this week. So giving them all time together, I took to our massive garden, and started to give it the good weeding it so desperately needs. And since this chore didn’t end up on anyone else’s chore list for the day, I found myself alone for awhile.
It’s not often that I’m alone, but when I am, I find my mind wandering back in time to days when I was working outside the home, and with other adults. Usually I find myself in a state of PTSD from dispatch or thinking about random interactions I’ve had with random people who have come into my life because of work, but were only there because of work. Seems once I left the workforce, a lot of my ‘work friends’ became ‘acquaintances’ and some aren’t even that anymore. Sure, we are ‘friends’ on Facebook, but we don’t know anything more about one another’s lives other than what each of us chooses to share with the world online. I’ve found myself more than once already wondering (more like doubting) if I’ve ever crossed their minds since we’ve parted working ways. And during this time of aloneness, I realized how much energy I put into reflecting on the past, and thinking about things that don’t hold any meaning to my now or my future. It’s not energy well spent!
I’m sure it’s because I’m generally a social person who is now a stay-at-home mom, but when I find myself alone, like actually alone without someone needing this or that, I find myself thinking of the past. And today I realized, I can’t remember the last time I thought about the future. I mean sure, I think about things we have coming up next week, appointments I have for myself or the kids, groceries I need for meals I plan to make, to-do lists of things that need to get done technically in the future, but I can’t remember the last time I actually thought about my future.
As I found myself realizing that I’m wasting so much more time and energy reflecting on the past than I am putting my energy into dreaming about our future, it jolted me like a lightening bolt.
I remember when my husband and I first got married and were just starting our lives together. We’d sit in our front porch watching day turn to night and talk about where we saw our lives in 5 years, and then in 10 years. And then once we had our first born son, our conversation changed to what we thought he’d be like when he got older, what he might be interested in, if he’d like to talk like me or be quieter like his daddy… but I can’t remember the last time I looked more than a week ahead, let alone 5 years from now.
I was recently posed an assignment in a course I’m taking to make a list of goals. To look ahead at what I want to achieve and when I would feel I had become successful in my endeavor. To dream about where I want to see myself in the future. And while the assignment applied to just the subject of the course, it got me thinking about my life in general. Where do I want to be in 5 years? What do I want my future to look like?
It made me realize the constant state of survival mode I am in from the hustle and bustle of life with a husband and three young kids. I sometimes find it daunting to think about what’s for supper, let alone find time to think about the future. I can’t even find a moment alone while going to the bathroom, which kind of makes sense that this realization didn’t hit me until I was actually alone for more than ten minutes. And I’ve come to the conclusion that when I am awake and alone, I am wasting what little energy I have left, instead of investing it on me, on my husband and I, on what actually matters. Doesn’t seem like time well spent does it.
When’s the last time you dreamt about the future? When’s the last time you found yourself planning for more than just next week? Where do you spend your energy?
I encourage you to take some time and really think about your future. Get out of this state of survival mode we all seen to be in, and dream about what 5 years from now will look like for you. Not what your kids will be doing. Not what your job will look like. But you. Then take it a step further and actually come up with some goals, some things you want to achieve. Maybe you want to save up and get out of debt. Maybe you want to purchase a new-to-you house. Maybe you want to move to the country, or move to the city. Maybe you want to buy a boat so you can spend your weekends on the water. Maybe you want to retire and move. Where do you see you?