Have you ever noticed that looking back gets a bad rap?
It’s natural to want to reflect on the past to find patterns, connect dots, solve puzzles. It’s in looking back that we learn lessons, piece clues together, better understand the present, and better shape the future.
Some resist this activity, for whatever reason (probably multiple). Maybe it’s too painful an activity for them; maybe they’re feeling impatient and want to get on with things already. So, they scoff and take the semi-pompous attitude of “it already happened. It’s done; it’s over with. It’s in the past now. Who cares? Why dwell on it?”
However, I stand behind it. I don’t apologize for doing so. It’s healthy; it’s important. It’s part of a healing process, of reaching states of understanding, peace, and contentment. Or at least resolution and acceptance. Whatever floats your boat.
Looking forward, on the other hand, is equally important. Just as it’s crucial to know where you’ve been and why you are where you are, it’s equally imperative to at least sketch out where you want to end up–what you want to become and how you want to live.
In looking forward, you envision what you want for yourself relative to what you have now. You visualize it in the realest-life detail you can, right down to the wood grain of the kitchen countertops of the new house you want to build, for example.
My current situation leaves a lot to be desired, and thus a lot to be envisioned and visualized. Which means that there’s a lot of potential to look forward to, when all of this is behind me and I am finally free.
Although it won’t happen for a while, I ultimately envision a future with multiple facets. (Most futures have multiple facets 😉 )
Starting with the base level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the home-front…
I envision a spacious-yet-simple one-bedroom apartment that comfortably holds all of my necessities and a few creature comforts, without feeling too cramped, cluttered, or claustrophobic. The space is bright, light, and airy by day, and ambiently lit at night, with psychologically correct medium-oak/wooden furniture and a color swatch of tans, sandy colors, and off-white walls, accented by splashes of color, such as tasteful artwork and throw pillows, and a few sparse, well-positioned knickknacks. There may be plants–live ones, if I can convert my black thumb to a greener one. Everything I don’t use on at least a monthly basis has either been stored elsewhere or donated. The vibe is generally one of quality over quantity in terms of Stuff.
In this space, all items within will be of my deliberate choice – they’re there because I pick them out and decide to have them. They remain there because I decide to keep them. They serve a purpose I’ve determined I need, and if that purpose ceases to exist, I may choose what to do with that item. I won’t have to wade through someone else’s stuff to get to mine, nor will mine ever get buried underneath or behind someone else’s. My stuff won’t get moved, destroyed, or thrown away by anyone else. I will always know where everything is, because I will get to choose how it’s organized.
My place will be clean, because I’ll be the one that cleans it. Other than company, I will also be the only one making any messes or creating any clutter, and I tend to keep things clean as I go, devoting 5-15 minutes a day to tidying up, and maybe a little extra once a week for deeper cleaning. I won’t have to clean up anyone else’s “trail” – throwing away their empty wrappers, clearing away their empty water jugs, gathering their dirty dishes.
My place will be relatively quiet, save for the times I play background music or watch TV/a movie or have friends over. Except for maybe the kitty; they do get loud sometimes while playing 🙂 . There will be no unnecessary racket that I don’t create.
Moving onto other aspects of survival…
My job is one that may or may not immediately fulfill my life purpose or my wildest dreams, but it pays the bills comfortably, with at least a little left over. My only luxuries will likely be internet, a few subscriptions to streaming services, my cell phone, semi-annual runs to Half Price Books or the library, chocolate, and perhaps some wine. And maybe some games. One could always use games.
So, the job would need to be at least the middle-to-upper-middle pay grade. Fully remote is a plus, and an intermittent workload is ideal, leaving room for running errands or engaging in self-care activities during the day. I don’t need many benefits, but catastrophic health insurance and at least a few days’ worth of paid time off per year would be nice.
Other than that, it almost doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I don’t hate it, and I’m pretty flexible; I don’t hate much. I can learn most things, I can grin and bear quite a bit, and I can tolerate a lot quite easily.
I envision a life where my bank account is mine and mine alone, not shared with anyone else, especially one whom I cannot trust. I manage money well, always have, and I look forward to doing so again. I can almost physically feel the comfort of knowing that I will always be aware of my financial status at all times, and I can feel secure that it won’t change behind my back. I will know every deposit and expense coming and going, and at no point will my statement likely be a surprise.
I visualize a future in which my daily routine is outlined by me and only me, influenced only by my job, appointments, and any other social commitments. I get to choose when to get up, when to go to bed, and what to do when, without having to tiptoe around others or having my activities restricted by those of others. I’ll be able to run the blender without worrying about waking anyone else up. I’ll be able to binge-watch YouTube videos without having to worry about them being overheard–and questioned–by anyone else. I’ll be able to read a book on my couch in peaceful silence without competition from an audio backdrop of Star Wars from the TV. I’ll be able to enjoy an evening glass of wine without worrying about a condescending glare or vibe from anybody else.
It sounds pretty peaceful, doesn’t it, dear ones? I can almost taste it. It’s still quite far away, but it’s getting closer, one step at a time, one stage at a time, one phase at a time.
It’s not going to be utopia. Living independently will not solve all my problems or answer all my prayers. Life will still happen, complete with its hiccups and speedbumps, and even the occasional roadblock. Crises will arise, obstacles will step into my path.
I get all that.
However, I would think that a more peaceful, stable, simple, and secure baseline provides a stronger, more relaxed foundational starting point with which to tackle those hiccups and obstacles when Life Happens.
And that is what I’m looking forward to. ❤