Garrison: The burden of the future

Zac Garrison Senior from Franklin, Ky.

There are several things in life that scare me: spiders, bugs, low-fat salad dressings; you name it.

Also, not having any idea where I am going to be in sixth months honestly makes me quite uneasy. I will graduate in May, and after that I’m not really sure what’s going to happen. It’s too early right now to apply for jobs because I don’t graduate till May, but the time to start my hardcore job search is impending. Sometimes I just want to talk to myself 10 years in the future just so I can make sure everything worked out. That I got that job I wanted, that I moved to a new city and I’m making good money with a nice apartment. But then I think: how much of the future do I actually want to know?

When you first think about it, learning about your future would be kind of cool. Any feelings of anxiety of the future and uneasiness about where your life path takes you could be gone with a simple question to your future self. Think about all of the things that you are uneasy about that are out of your control simply because time is the main factor in why you don’t know. Will I get my dream job that I plan on applying for? Will my family still be in good health in 10 years? How life changing was the sequel to “Frozen?” These are all questions that would be on the tip of my tongue if I were able to have a conversation with future Zac. 

This is a catch-22, though. What if you got bad news? What if all of your hopes and dreams turned into sand in front of your eyes and fell from your open palm to the ground? What if you talked to your future self and found out you are not the person you wanted to be? You tried your hardest to not become that person which led you to becoming someone you didn’t like.

This may be a cynical way of viewing the situation, but knowing the future could weigh heavily on someone. The reality could be that if I got a chance to talk to a future version of myself, my dreams and aspirations could be crushed because I never achieved any of my dreams. There is a chance that future me is a guy I don’t really like and never saw myself becoming.

A broken man with no ambition, no money to his name and a lot of broken dreams that follow him like a trail of bread crumbs. Do I believe in myself more than that? I absolutely do. But there is nothing more final than hearing something has already happened.

What if you asked yourself a question, and never got a response? A question simply spoken to the void that no one would ever hear because there is a chance you may not be here in 10 years. Are you capable of coping with the reality of your own mortality? Statistically, someone reading this will not be here in 10 years. This idea may rain on your parade but it’s true. How would knowing you wouldn’t be here in 10 years affect the way you live today?

Some people may say you could try and change the future by knowing it beforehand. That once you know what will happen, if it is unsatisfactory, you will try your best to change it.

This opens up a paradox, though. You spent your whole life trying to be someone else so you never truly realized who you were at the moment. Think of how much of your life you would miss when you’re trying to gaze 10 years into the future. 

Being preoccupied with knowledge of the future will never let us appreciate right now. To be 100 percent honest, I would rather be anxious and unknowing about things that are out of my immediate focus of control than having to be burdened with all the answers at once.

Part of what keeps life interesting is the mystery of it all. Having several doors lined up in front of you and not having any clue what is behind them until you muster up the courage to open one. The great thing about the future is that we will get there eventually, so why rush and stress over it?

We are so worried about rushing to get to the future and growing up that we trivialize the wonderful experiences we are having now. We could miss a lot of great memories because we are so busy looking at who we will be in 10 or 15 years.

In 10 years, we will be looking back on these days and wishing we wouldn’t have been so worried about what would come.

The future will come with time, but now only happens once in the universe. Take the time to experience today, tomorrow will happen eventually.

Column by Zac Garrison, Senior from Franklin, Ky.