To like or not to like your past. That’s a tough debate for most people. To like or not to like your future is also a difficult choice to make when things don’t seem to go “your” way.
There’s a lot of talk about living in the present. In a sense, that’s the best solution to forget the hardships we’ve been through and stop overthinking the ones that’ll come. It isn’t that easy though, is it?
You’ve been through a lot. Maybe it wasn’t much in the eyes of other people, but you were hurt in the past. You made decisions that didn’t work out. You suffered due to other people’s choices. You had wishes that didn’t come true.
My own life has been difficult in a sense. There are countless people who had a more difficult past than me but the pain I felt was just as real. Maybe even as intense.
But you know what? This is also what shaped me, what made me become the man I am today.
I remember the pleasure of being accepted into the Japanese Major in University only to be informed 3 weeks later the University “didn’t have enough space” and I had to find something else somewhere else. That pushed me to double down on my objective of learning Japanese. I started studying on my own and took evening classes as I went through a boring Economics major at a different University. 4 years later, I was going on an exchange program in Japan. 3 more years later, I move to Japan for work.
Back in 2008, when I got refused, I could have been disappointed and sulked in my room. And I did! At first. But after this was done, I looked back and made up my mind to transform my future so it’d be connected to Japan.
In the eyes of the young me from then, my recent past was difficult, but the future was mine. In the words of Zadie Smith:
“The past is always tense, the future perfect.”
As a language-lover, this resonates well with me. What the future will be is, in some twisted way, perfect for you. Maybe not perfect to you, but it is what you need.
Living strictly in the past won’t do you any good because you won’t be able to move forward. Living strictly in the future won’t help you either because too many unknowns will arise.
Living in the present is important for most of the day but you still have a future. You need to have a goal, a purpose to head forward, a reason to want a better future.
Learn from your past. Appreciate the hurdles, the pain, the experiences. Find your true purpose, your Why. Draw your future as you live your everyday life.
One step at a time, go forward and become a better person.
The past tense will get you to the present continuous which will help you reach the future perfect.