I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately.
At the school where I teach, one of our new year themes is hope. Gallup defines hope as “seeing the future as better than the present”. Hopeful people, Gallup says, believe they have the power to make their future so. Gallup also has lots of handy studies on how hopeful students fair better in school and life than their non-hopeful counterparts. Admittedly, I haven’t read all of the studies or the book about the research, but I can’t really find much to scoff about here.
After all, what’s wrong with a little hope?
I can remember, as early as middle school, telling myself that what’s next would be better. I don’t know how I figured it out or why, but I just knew that once I jumped through all the hoops of school and the sorrows of adolescent longing and drama that life would become infinitley better.
And I was right. There were some ups and downs along the way, but all in all, every year has been better than the last. I don’t see why that should ever have to stop. I’m not afraid of moving forward. The thing that always filled me with the greatest anxiety was remembering the past too vividly. Nostalgia has it’s place, but I always hated that feeling of stuck. Stuck in what was, stuck in memories (The not so pleasant ones anyway. After all, do we ever relaly get stuck, unable to budge from the great ones? No. Those have a curious lightness to them. Easy to recall and easy to file away for another time.)
I’m still looking forward to the future. It’s the little things, the big things, and the everyday things all pressed together and indistinct before me that I can’t wait for. It’s the future things like: where we’ll live next year, and when we can afford a house. What color will I paint the walls? Will I agonize over them, or will I know for sure, without a doubt that this color will do much better than this one? Our first dog will be a corgi. I’m sure summer time dog training will be hot and muggy and drooly and I’ll love every minute of it. In less than two year the rest of my loans will be paid off and we’ll be debt free. I imagine, weekly, the last time I have to press the ‘pay now’ button. There will be traveling and cooking and probably more school at some point (but that doesn’t really fill me with hope yet, I’ll be honest). There’s the flowers that I know Chris will buy me for no reason, date nights, and throwing grill out parties for our friends on our someday huge patio in our someday manicured backyard (now there’s a hope). There’s the potential for Chris’s new and better job (and universe, if you are listening, I know you will make this so) and all the wonderful yet-to-happen times with family and friends. There are the students who will come back and visit and I will be, I know, so happy to see them happy and healthy, and thriving. There is holding my husband’s hand until there are wrinkles along our knuckles and faces because we have too, too much fun together.
The day to day can be tiring and draining, but there is always the next day to look forward to, the next year, the next decade. I may be a closet sap. I may not like to talk to much out loud about the things inside my head and heart, but the future has always made me tick, and I think, I know, it’ll be better than today.
And really, today wasn’t bad at all so that most certainly tells you something.