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May 23, 2015

Fear of the Future

For months now I have been contemplating my future now that I'm alone again. I find myself asking, "where do I go from here?" I didn't really have an answer for that question when I was part of a couple, but I always assumed that with another person around, the future would unfold with tweaks from both parties and everything would be alright in the long run.

But now I am single. And my future looks like a big blank canvas. As an artist, a big blank canvas isn't a source of intimidation, but a symbol of opportunity and endless possibility. So why can't I see the big blank canvas of my life that way? I know I SHOULD see it as that, but fear has gotten in the way. For me, the presences of another acted as a foil for the creation of ideas and possibilities. But when it became just me, the ideas just dried up.

So it's been a natural inclination for me to cast my net around for the opinion of others. How has that been working out for me? Not so great. For those who are even willing to weigh in with ideas, their suggestions feel like ill-fitting shoes. With the help of a life coach, I am being encouraged to go inward, examine what I really want, and become the architect for my own future. It's hard, because fear really gets in the way sometimes.

So here's what I've learned. First, find the intestinal fortitude to admit to yourself that you are where you are because you asked to be in this space. Put on your big girl panties (or big boy boxers) and suck it up. Admit that you've been itching to wrest control for your life out of the grasp of another person or circumstance that was stifling you. There. It is done. Own it.

Second, go inward. What makes you feel whole and alive? What things are important to you? What are your values? What are your dreams? What material things do you want? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with? What experiences would you like to have in this lifetime? How much money is enough? What situations make you feel happy? What foods and activities make you feel healthy? What feeds you emotionally? What sustains you spiritually?

Third, think logically. Every moment of every day is the future coming to meet you in the present. It's like a baseball thrown from the moon. You know it's coming, you can't do anything to stop it, so prepare. What are you going to do when the baseball comes at you? Are you going to stand there and do nothing and let it knock you in the head (the school of hard knocks)? Are you going to step aside and let the ball pass you by as a lost opportunity? Or are you going to prepare by taking a firm stance, visualize the ball as it hits your glove, and make the most of the moment and catch it?

Fourth, stay present. Moments of opportunity are coming at you all the time. But how do you recognize them? Stay in the moment, right now, as much as possible. Regretting the past is a useless waste of energy. Worrying about the future is distracting you from the present. Let the lessons from the past inform your actions RIGHT NOW to help you prepare for the future. Get into that firm stance and be ready to seize the opportunities as they whiz by. You'll be in a much better position to recognize if the opportunity is one you want to seize if you stay present and true to yourself.

Do you need a new job? Have your interview suit picked out, clean, ironed, hanging and ready to go. Polish your shoes. Pack your briefcase. Pick out your accessories. Get a haircut. Go to bed every night as though you have a job and prepare for the day ahead. Get out of bed every day as though you have a job and treat looking for a job like IT IS your job. Visualize your perfect job. Be willing to recognize that your perfect job isn't conventional and MAKE the job you'll love. Then sell what you love because people will buy something you're passionate about. Be willing to take some risks and step outside the box, so long as it does not violate your personal values.

Looking for the perfect mate? Make a list. What do you want in that perfect person? Be extravagant, no holds barred. Be ridiculous in your desires if you must. Groom yourself every day as though you have a date later that day. Put your best self forward and stay positive. Smile. Treat every new person that you meet as though they could be "the one" and you're excited to finally meet them. Stay present and love yourself first so that you are aware when someone else hits a sour note, and isn't the one for you.

The other day, as I drove my car onto the interstate, I had a feeling that came from my solar plexus. It was a memory of a feeling I used to get when I was forging my way into the world ALONE. For the first time in a long time, the future felt like an adventure rather than something to fear. And that felt really good.



Posted by linda at May 23, 2015 8:21 AM

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