Future present

August 15, 2021 By

I love spending time in the future. Visualising where I want to be in six months’ time, twelve months’ time, five years’ time. Looking forward to what my life is going to be like when I get to that point.

Visualisation is such an important part of what I do, it’s an exercise I use with all my clients, and it is such a powerful tool when it comes to making us see possibilities, opening our eyes up to opportunities, igniting our creativity and making us take action so that things come about. In some of the more challenging periods of my life it was the ability to look ahead to better times to come and genuinely believing that they would, that made me keep going.

Throughout the pandemic we have certainly been needing this ability too, to believe that this all has to end at some point, that things will change, that we will get to live a more normal life again.  And we’ll just have to keep tight until then.

Sometimes, though, we need to be reminded that we don’t always need to be looking that far ahead when we visualise our best possible outcomes. Sometimes we actually shouldn’t be.

That struck me this morning, which felt like a real Groundhog Day one. Tired of the usual routines, and with little energy to make things better, all I wanted was for it to be some point in the future, where the big and wonderful things I was dreaming of had already come about. A feeling which, in fairness, our current circumstances have been very much inducive to.  We’ve all at some point surely wished that we could just close our eyes and that everything would be all right and the pandemic over by the time we opened them again. We’re not to beat ourselves up over that.

But as the day went on, it became clearer and clearer that the good times weren’t going to come about any sooner by me moping around wishing for them, and that in fact I was just becoming more miserable by doing so.  

And I realised that, at this point, if any visualisations were going to serve me, they had to be applied differently. They had to be short-term and in the moment. And so I narrowed it down to what I wanted my life to look like right now. What I wanted to feel like, what I wanted to be doing. And then I could do what I could to make that come about. Which, after all, is what visualisations are all about.

In my case, I had to get rid of this feeling that I was living in limbo, that my life was on hold. I needed to, somehow, be embodying the life I wanted in the future in the here and now. I needed to stop wishing my life away.

So I went to the shop and bought some nice food rather than just getting by on what was in the fridge. I mopped the floors and cleaned the kitchen, knowing how much I would appreciate moving amongst the shiny surfaces. I tidied up the toys rather than go, sure there is no point, it will be a mess again tomorrow, I might as well wait until they are all off to college. I even rezoned the coffee table from kids to adult territory (this may not last) and put down some flowers and a candle.

And then I sat down, lit the candle, watched an episode of Nigella’s Kitchen while eating a fabulous sandwich, and felt that my life – at this very moment – was actually pretty much just the way I wanted it to be.

But it wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t made that effort.

This is not about the specific actions I took, by the way. That’s not the effort I am talking about. It’s not about whether your kitchen is clean or not, or about what you eat. On a different day, this exercise might have led me to realise I needed to do as little as possible, continue stepping over all the toys, feed everyone frozen pizza for dinner from a messy kitchen, with an overall goal of just getting through the day as best I could.

It’s about taking the time to figure out what it is that you need at any given point. That’s the effort. It’s about setting intentions and living your life purposefully.  It’s about realising that looking to the future does not have to mean putting your current life on hold. It’s about not wishing your life away. And then you can, happily, gloriously, keep moving forward towards your bigger goals, too.

It is all about the balance. Always.