Future, Present, Past

9 Aug 2022

That seems the wrong way around, doesn’t it? We’re far more used to the order, Past, Present Future.

There is, however, a reason for this order.

Without a dream for the future, we have no sense of direction. We need a dream and then a plan, even if it is only planning a menu for the week and making out a shopping list. Without a direction and a plan, we have chaos. If we want to have a holiday, a new job, if we want to do something with the garden, we need a vision and we need a plan.

Much of the present is taken up with the routine business of everyday life. The present is often reacting to the unexpected and unplanned. Walking towards our future, however, means bringing our plans into our present and acting on those plans today.

The past is about recording what happened. The past is about organisation; about tidying away; doing the accounts; keeping a diary or gratitude journal and making that scrapbook or photograph album.

Most of us are happiest in one area, can deal with a second and only grudgingly spend time in the third.

My husband is the dreamer and the planner. 90% of the things he says he would love to do, like starting a water sports business or buying an Aston Martin, will just stay as dreams – or, at least, I hope so. Some of them are more realistic. He plans our holidays, and our new garden design. But some of those plans then gather dust for years.

I tend to live in the present. I book the tickets for the holiday. Give me a list of things to do today and I’m a happy bunny. Ask me to plan a marketing strategy for the next six months and I’m a rabbit in the headlights. If it were left to me, there would be no changes. There would be no holidays, no redesign of the garden, no financial preparation for our retirement. I would just go on, responding to emergencies and living a quiet humdrum existence.

Neither of us is good at recording things. My husband has piles of papers on his desk which are never filed. I have started a hundred diaries and journals and have given up on all of them within three weeks. My bank account goes unreconciled and the yearly accounts for my business should have been done five months ago. Most of our photos are still online rather than in albums. It is difficult to learn from the past or remember it if we do not record it in some way. We would live in a mess if we did not tidy away and organise things. The past is vital to our present and our future.

In which time are you most comfortable? Are you a dreamer and planner, a doer, or a recorder?

And what can you change so the past and future are both balanced in your present?


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