I have been living as a modern day time-traveler for the last few decades, and this mindset is starting to get to me. The mind of a time-traveler gets squirrely sometimes, and it’s making me worry too much. I am nervous that all this extra worry is starting to destroy my happiness.
A time-traveler’s mind is constantly reflecting on the past, while trying to visualize the future at the same time. They are rarely just enjoying the moment. Their mind races for the answers they seek, and they are always calculating the odds of how their decisions will work for, or against them in the future.
Have you ever known someone who wasn’t fully with you even though their body was there? Their mind was always drifting into different thoughts that you couldn’t see? They were probably time-traveling.
Being a time-traveler can be fun and productive. Examining previous decisions helps me to make better decisions for the future I want. There is never a meaningless decision for people who want to live their dream life. Everything has meaning. This means decades of experience must be examined before the best decision can be made. But I’ve recently realized, all that time-traveling to make the perfect decision is causing too much worry. It is sacrificing my happiness to live in the present.
Worry. I’m sick of worrying. I want it gone. That’s what this post is about.It’s about documenting how I am going to worry less, maximize the value of each day more, and enjoy my life more by taking it one day at a time from now on.
For the last 15 years of my life, my brain has become sort of an animal of its own that causes me to lose perspective at times. Meaning, at 35 years-old, I find myself missing out on enjoying the present because I am too often using my precious time to analyze my current trajectory toward my future.
My major problem is, that no matter how hard I plan for the future, the future is unknown. No matter how hard I try to imagine it, there’s no way I can plan for it. There’s no way for me to know what my life will look like in 20 years. Trying to imagine myself 55 years old, when I don’t know anything for certain, is causing me too much useless anxiety. It’s causing me to look at my savings, my health, my family, and worry. Am I on the right path? Or do I need to work harder?
Worry. It’s debilitating, and I’m realizing worry is an enemy to my present happiness.
I am finally starting to get sick of worrying ruining my everyday happiness. Then the next thought hits me: Because my brain is always time-traveling through past memories, or trying to understand my future, I am rarely in the present just to enjoy my life. If I could do a better job living in the present, I could do a better job enjoying all the hard work, and smart decisions I am making to get me to this point. But how does one do a better job of living in each moment?
I am doing really well with my life right now. My wife and I have saved enough money for an emergency fund in the bank. We have a few investments that I enjoy watching grow; a sales business I honestly enjoy servicing; a home I enjoy living in and a wife who encourages me to explore my talents. In the present, I am doing pretty dang good. So I’ve just realized, why not spend time enjoying the now, rather than wasting my precious daily happiness worrying about the future?
Why am I stressing about the future anyway? The future is a giant unknown no matter how hard I try to predict it! I’m 35 years old, and I could never have imagined the events of the last 15 years that brought me to where I am today. There were so many minor successes and failures on the journey to survive each day, that ultimately, I could never have imagined living the life I am now even if I had tried.
There were good jobs and bad jobs – and some good and bad relationships. Unexpected blessings, and curses arrived, but I did my best to make the best out of each one. Each year, each day, and each hour of my 35 years of existence were so unique that I couldn’t have planned for them no matter how hard my brain tried.
The new awareness lit up my brain like a lightning storm.
At age 20 years old, I could never have imagined living the life I am now. But I am happy with this life, and I am happy with the every-day adventure that I am in. I do my best to plan ahead: I save extra money so that I can survive a bad day, and I have enough insurance to protect me from a catastrophe. I’ve done the best I can to live a life I am happy with.
Suddenly, the life I want came into perspective: No matter how much my brain races to prepare for my future, I’ll never know what the future will hold. It is truly impossible for me to understand my future no matter how hard I worry about it. That’s when I decided to stop stressing about it, and instead, I am going to make a committed effort to simply take one day at a time. I am now going to do my best to simply maximize the potential and value in each day.
Each day is its own adventure, and those adventures compounding over time, will tell the story of my life. I am learning that one secret to having less worry is to focus on maximizing opportunities in each day. Take it one day at a time, and don’t worry about 20 years in the future like I was doing. 20 years of time will come eventually, and the only way to be truly successful in 20 years, is to make the best of each day in front of us.
The secret to my success – that will lead to my happy life – is not letting my brain worry about the future. Life is for exploration in the moment, and maximizing the value in each moment. I have been missing some of the beauty of each moment by looking too far ahead and worrying, and I am ready to stop. I will arrive in 20 years eventually, so I’m done stressing about what the future will look like today. The things that I am doing now are saving money, making good investments, and creating opportunities for my future-self to thrive every day. If I keep doing these things, the journey I am on will continue to grow, compound over time, and my future self will just naturally find myself in an even better place than I am today.
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