Lesson 4: Focusing on the wrong times

I had so many plans.  So many dreams.  She was supposed to be a crucial part of all of them.  Without her, the plans will so easily fade away.  These plans were all well and good, but they lacked the most critical component, timing.  In the rare instances where hopes and dreams are gifted by luck and happenstance, then I say embrace the blessing.  What good is planning for the future if you don’t simultaneously pay attention to the present?  

Have you ever been told not to celebrate too early?  Envision the finish line, but don’t get too far ahead of yourself.  Planning the rest of your lives together is advisable, but losing sight of the present could completely negate even the most well-laid plans.  The love may very well be there, and the potential for a bright and wonderful future might seem inevitable, but just like constructing a building, plans require day to day attention.  The future is full of dreams and endless possibilities, but all of that is for nothing if the relationship ends before you get there.

What good is it to have the wedding, honeymoon, and a 20-year plan in place, if you neglect the day to day issues that will most likely come up.  You can spend all of your time fantasizing about the future, but what is the point if you stop paying attention to the present.  There is nothing wrong with a fantasy unless you let it overtake the reality.  You end up falling in love with what hasn’t happened yet, and the reality tends to suffer.  One of the many problems with planning for the future is how difficult it can be to account for the unforeseeable.

Imagine you have plans to buy a house with your significant other.  Everything is going so well that it doesn’t seem like anything could possibly get in the way or prevent it.  You have a fantastic job in a successful industry, a supportive family, and are in the best physical shape of your life.  Nothing can go wrong right?  You already have a realtor, you are working so much overtime that you are losing time with your loved ones but the down payment will be ready to go as a result, and the mortgage will be less than half your monthly income because of your hard work and sacrifice.  

You walk into work on Wednesday, feeling confident and good.  A meeting is called.  Abnormal for a Wednesday, but not a complete surprise.  Within the first few minutes, your boss lets you know that business has been so good because certain tasks were being outsourced overseas and your department is on the chopping block next.  In 40 days, you will be without a job, benefits, or the highest income in your household.  The stress and anxiety that follows bleeds into the home life and as a result, the future you had planned has morphed into a day to day struggle.

You were so focused on the house and the future life you would have that you missed the fact that the outsourcing was taking place.  Now life has gone from easy street, to a mad scramble for a new income.  Your significant other isn’t just seeing what happened, they are experiencing it as well.  In the stress and struggle, your relationship is inevitably going to suffer because of it.  Unfortunately, you are so worried now about an uncertain future that you start to miss the little things that are happening now.  

Everyone has their limits.  These limits are based on whatever it is each person wants to base them on.  This isn’t a law or even a rule.  It is a guide.  Plan for the future, but don’t let that get in the way of living in the present.  Don’t allow yourself to be blinded to what is, by what isn’t.  Open your eyes and don’t let the wrong time and place distract you.  Take a deep breath and understand that things change every day.  No matter how detailed a plan, or how certain you are that it will succeed, no plan survives contact with implementation.  You have to be prepared for change.  Change is inevitable and being prepared for it means making sure you stay focused on the present.

Takeaways:

  1. Don’t think too far ahead
  2. Have a plan, but be flexible
  3. Change is inevitable
  4. No future is guaranteed
  5. Take a deep breath

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