We all like to daydream about what the future may hold, but when those prospects consume your thoughts more than the present, there’s a real risk of living your own mental and emotional nightmare. Make a conscious effort to enjoy the here and now by recognizing these problems:
1. You can’t enjoy the present
How will you ever find success and happiness in the future if you can’t enjoy right now? It’s a classic catch-22. Because focusing on tomorrow today won’t end as long as you live, since as long as you live there will always be today and tomorrow. Plan for the future, sure, but don’t let the what-ifs take away from your enjoyment of the present. You get one shot at today and you’ll never get it again.
2. It can destroy your relationships
I’ve been cheated on in the past by guys who have told me how much they love me, who were affectionate, who genuinely enjoyed spending time with me—but that didn’t stop them from lying and stepping out. The effect of that behavior makes it harder to build new, healthier relationships, because I often worry if the next guy will do the same in the future—and if I’m constantly sleuthing for problems, problems will arise. I’ve personally found that the only way for me to keep myself in check in this regard is with therapy: talking with someone regularly about my doubts, fears, and ultimately the reinforcement of my own self-worth (I’m better off being single than letting a cheater control my emotions), and I recommend seeking professional help if you’re also feeling lonely in this world.
3. The anxiety it can cause you will make you miserable
If you’re worrying about the future, you’re probably not concentrating on all the wonderful possibilities it holds. Instead, human nature is homing in on everything that can go wrong, leading to stress and anxiety. There have been times in my own life where my pessimism about what hasn’t even happened yet has physically debilitated me to the point that I can’t get out of bed. I do find solace in a daily routine and checklist; however, that firmly keeps me moving at today’s pace instead of tomorrows.
4. Worrying about it can affect what good may come
There are amazing things ahead for you but your endless apprehension about the future can and will affect what is yet to come. Every decision we make sets the foundation for what’s next, and you’re doing yourself a disservice (perhaps lifelong) by allowing negativity to cloud your judgment. This isn’t to say that you should rest on your laurels and let the world dictate what happens to you, but also don’t count yourself out before the countdown is done.
5. It’s out of your control
You are only one tiny influence on your future. The rest—all the people and events that live right outside your door—have much greater impact and there’s no way you can control it. So, don’t try to. Live your best in-the-moment life and let nature take its course with your hands on the wheel. You never know where you’ll end up—and that’s the best part.
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets. He spends his time writing from the Asbury Park beach with his dog, Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyrox