When you’re a kid, sometimes you have a really close friend. Sometimes, you make plans with this friend, things like “When we’re out of high school, we’ll get our own place and have fun all the time”. Most of the time, that friend leaves. But the other half of that friendship actually meant what was said…they really believed those things would happen, and that’s a crushing blow to believing anything, especially regarding the future, can come true and it makes you close yourself off to others a bit more than you were to begin with. I know because I experienced this.
I was the kind of kid who only had a few friends in my entire adolescence, but they were friends I was extremely close to. One in particular I spent almost all my free time with, and we had dozens of in-jokes, running jokes and could sit with one another doing whatever we wanted without ever needing to say a word, for hours upon hours. We often spent nights and even entire weekends at one anothers homes, and we created a lot of stuff together like short videos and comics. This was my absolute best friend, and we came up with a lot of plans of what to do after we graduated from high school.
And then, they left, and things fell apart.
The thing is, the people who leave are often the people who can grow up, advance and move forward with life. The ones left behind are the ones who really thought things would stay the way they were forever, and that was me. I thought this wouldn’t happen. I thought they really cared. But this isn’t realistic, a truth I begrudgingly accept even as I wish this truth had a physical form so I could stab it repeatedly in the face with a rusty, jagged knife. The funny thing is, even though this was a truth that didn’t take years to discover, I still refused to acknowledge its truthfulness. I refused to accept the reality of this truth, and as such, I haven’t done anything with my life, because the way I saw it, why bother? It all falls apart and none of it comes true anyway.
The real problem here is that it’s impeded into every aspect of my life. Why wash my hair? It’s just gonna get dirty again. Why do dishes? I’m just gonna eat again. Why do laundry? I’m just gonna wear these clothes again. A mixture of depression thrown in and this is the most dangerous combination I can think of. So how does one break this cycle? I truly don’t know. What’s worse is my memory for things like “e-mail this person tomorrow” is absolutely worthless, but my memory regarding people I used to know, even if they’re people I’d rather never think about again, is crystal fucking clear. I can recall every single room of every single house of every single friend I have ever had. I remember all the time spent in those living rooms, those bedrooms and more. You cannot escape, even after these people have left.
We, as a species, like to plan for the future. This is why we have daily planners, wedding planners, funeral arrangements and thousands upon thousands of movies about time travel. It’s not enough to plan for the future, we have to plan for the future because we hate the present and things are never going the way we hope they will. Even with the uncertainty of ‘you might not even be alive next week’, we still like to daydream about what the future might hold. Fortune tellers are nothing more than a source of immediate faux comfort for $45 an hour. This explains why people would much rather go to a fortune teller than a therapist. A fortune teller tells you how things might improve in the future. A therapist tells you how you can improve things in the future, and seeing how people don’t like to take responsibility for being the reasons their life sucks (this is the entire idea behind fate, honestly, “it can’t be my fault, it’s fate!), they never want to be faced with that prospect.
To us, the best thing we can do with our present is plan for our future.
The problem with the future though, is that it often doesn’t come true.