Future, Present, Past

9 Aug 2022
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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?

Mary

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Adam G

Aug. 10, 2022, 4:39 a.m.

I would be a doer … if I wasn’t such a procrastinator!

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Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 5:54 a.m.

Ah, but as a "doer," you probably busy yourself with displacement activities!

Teg

Aug. 10, 2022, 6:49 a.m.

Good morning Mary Your excellent Post follows on from the one I wrote on 20 November last year. Mine used the more conventional order but yours makes sense. Lately I find myself with a more balanced mixture of thoughts. From March 2020 to around June 2021 I had no future thoughts at all. All my energies were given to existing in the present. The vital ingredient is "Hope". My thoughts about the present and future are now mostly of a positive variety. However, when I think about the past I can't stop negative thoughts intruding and disrupting more pleasant memories sometimes. A very thought provoking piece today Mary. Thank you and enjoy the lovely current ( present?) weather. Txx

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Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 10, 2022, 9:13 a.m.

Teg - your brain did what it needed to do during the stressful times between March 2020 and June 2021: all energies went into caring for you at that present moment - but gradually you began to see ****** of light and hope - and I know you may not feel ‘healed’ but it’s good to know you are so much more positive today. Remember those pesky thoughts that disrupt lovely memories and ‘thought check’ them!! Tell them to offski, that you are watching the thoughts and they will disappear!! Love and Bear hugs x x x

Teg

Aug. 10, 2022, 10:08 a.m.

Hi Mrs Bear Thank you so much for your understanding. As you know from my recent Post on "hope", it is you and fellow members that have helped me greatly in finding those ****** of light. Txx

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:03 p.m.

…and vice versa Teg, vice versa xx

Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:46 p.m.

In times of stress, we can only focus on our next step. We cannot lift our eyes to the dream, we must just cope with the next hurdle and placing one foot in front of the other.

Sally

Aug. 10, 2022, 6:58 a.m.

Mary,and husband, I am exactly like you in the tidying stakes (and so is my husband!) I have an arts and crafts room, always piled up with papers, books, paintings, sketches, and ideas more than I can handle! His study is the same, though he tries hard to shred and shed, he cannot bring himself to throw out much at all from the past! He is a historian. Decades ago, a friend expressed the view “Our kids will just order a big skip and put everything in it!” Crumbs, I thought. Did I change my untidy habits ? Nope. But the words of the friend stayed with me, and I habitually reflect on them! I’ll tidy, for five minutes, or even an hour, then get bored, and go off and do something else! ONE DAY I tell myself, all these tops , all this floor space will be clear, everything put away, triaged, squeaky-clean & tidy. An intention that is ongoing, and ongoing! Thank you, Mary! I will address the problem today with renewed vigour and a pricked conscience. Come on round , Marie Kondo , heeeeeellppp me!!!

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The Gardener

Aug. 10, 2022, 8 a.m.

And so say nearl all of us! I could build a great wall of China paved with all my good intentions

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 10, 2022, 9:20 a.m.

Aw I wish I lived near you Sally, I’d help!! I love going through stuff and giving over a specific time (usually when it is raining and I can’t get out to garden!) and I just go through everything! Did it for a friend (with her permission of course!!). We got through all of her clothing and she ditched a load of stuff that didn’t fit, looked awful or was holey!! Charity shops benefitted and she felt ten times happier she said. Have done it with old study in previous house - now we have downsized, we don’t have a study/craft room and we have to keep everything tidier….and because it’s too hot to be outside - inside gets a sorting a bit more often!! Lol!! Love and Bear hugs x x x

Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:49 p.m.

Dear Sally, often we need help. My hairdresser, who is a wonderfully tidy and organised person, helped me get my craft room organised. It is not often tidy, but there is a place for everything and sometimes everything is in its place! She did it for love, because her favourite thing is to create order from chaos. Her work with me really helped and my craft room has stayed organised, even though my craft supplies have grown exponentially! Do you have a friend who would love to help?

Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 1:01 p.m.

Oh, and when it came to my in-laws, house; the one we've just sold - it was three skips, plus the one the house clearance people used!

Sally

Aug. 10, 2022, 7:14 p.m.

Hi Bear and Mary and TG. Thank you for caring enough to comment. Very kind of you. I have no friend who could do this with me, they’re either some distance away, busy with grand parental duties, or …erm..super bossy and not what I need! Someone did try , family, but it didn’t change the habits of accumulating without sifting and I just can’t ask that family member again. There’s a professional in the neighbourhood who charges 70 pounds an hour but I don’t know that 10 hours would be enough! In my hear of hearts, I know I have to let go, just like I had to let my son go, ( into a care home to live nearly 20 years ago…. Maybe in a weird way, it’s related tothe fear of letting go , emotions which never really leave you, a mother…TG will understand, having so recently lost her son, and yes, I am aware it isn’t really on a par, but it’s the only parallel I can think of at this moment…. I have sad thoughts of not minding this vulnerable young man enough, even though ( or especially because?) we have no relationship with him due to his profound autism and complex needs). On a lighter note, it was Maureen Lipman, a heroine of mine, who coined the phrase about a woman’s hobby being “ Full time guilt “, so maybe that’s it too! Haha! Moodscopers, bear with me, this has been something of a ramble tonight…thank you Mary for your thought provoking blog!

Jul

Aug. 10, 2022, 7:17 a.m.

I think when one is unhappy in the present, one dreams of the future. When I was stuck in horrid job and life was difficult in many ways, I used to dream of a future I had in my mind. Now I am relatively happier, I live mainly in the present. But I also dream. Like Teg when I look back to the past I sometimes don't like what I remember and it can intrude onto the present but I'm getting better (all the time!) at dismissing these memories. "You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one" Jul xx

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Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:51 p.m.

I don't tend to dream of the future, but an impossible present, with magic and different characters in my life. Your dreams at least had a chance of coming true.

Teg

Aug. 10, 2022, 1:42 p.m.

Hi Jul I recognised John Lennon! Txx

Jul

Aug. 10, 2022, 4:31 p.m.

I hoped you would Teg! Jul xx

Sally

Aug. 10, 2022, 7:33 p.m.

I love that line of John Lennon’s !

The Gardener

Aug. 10, 2022, 8:08 a.m.

I spend a lot of time in the past; writing about and photos make me re-live it, fascinating, frightening sometimes, would not, could not, change a thing. Thoroughly in present at moment, sitting in hotel with Thames outside my room. Very proud remaining in the present having actually got here, 4 trains, very hot, chaotic stations, prmised help in France all happened. Taxi ride across Paris bliss. Notre Dame nearly rebuilt. Gare du Nord very hot, glass roof. Waterloo much worse. Now to scour charity shops for something to read. Future? At 87 more and more carpe diem, but that successful journey given me confidence (got to get home of course). Keep cool!

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Jul

Aug. 10, 2022, 8:30 a.m.

Well done Gardener. Jul xx

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 10, 2022, 9:21 a.m.

You’re a star and a trooper! Congrats on an amazing travelling day you had yesterday! Bear xx

Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:53 p.m.

I have no words except, "Mi' Lady," said with a low curtsey and bowed head. You are truly a shining light and an inspiration!

Ruth

Aug. 10, 2022, 8:23 a.m.

Hi Mary I don't know really. I used to be much more practical. But my energy is so low with this long covid, I just can't plan anything. It's my birthday next week and I know I want to go out but can't seem to plan it. Energy is just not there. Anyone else with any suggestions with strategies for long covid and coping these would be very welcome. I have struggled since February. The hospital is now involved but still waiting for treatment.

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Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 10, 2022, 9:23 a.m.

Many hoppy returns for your hippo birdie next week Ruth ;-)* maybe loosely ‘plan’ an easy picnic - away in a park somewhere or at home if you don’t feel like travelling anywhere on the day? Bear x x x

Nicco

Aug. 10, 2022, 10:16 a.m.

Hello Ruth, from what i've read & understand, long covid is like post viral fatigue syndrome or M.E. which is what i've had for many years to a greater or lesser degree. I use strategies of pacing (not doing too much of any single activity at one time with frequent total rests in beteeen - even sedentary activities like reading, watching tv, working on the pc, knitting, etc are activities which can be draining psychologically which, in turn, drains physical energy), & making sure i eat regularly (esp including an intake of starchy food every 3hrs - avoiding sugary foods -potato seems to work well as starch is changed into sugar in the blood more slowly & is stored for longer than actual sugar). Also going to bed at the same time every night to try & balance the circadian rythm.Total rest means eye mask on & ear plugs in to block out any external audio & visual stimulation. Meditation & breath work help - there are loads on You Tube to choose from but i find Suzanne Horobin & Jason Stephenson suit me as they have very relaxing voices & have a wide range of meditations to choose from. Because it's an energy-sapping illness, it's important to get the energy input (food & rest) & energy output (exertion of any kind) balanced - normally our body would do this automatically for us without our even realising it, but the system's been damaged by the illness so we have to try to do the balacing ourselves. It goes without saying that avoiding stress is important - easier said than done i know, but if i come under a stressful situation or get ill i increase the above mentioned strategies to hourly for a few days until things calm down again. You can gradually increase activity by only ten per cent every two weeks if all goes well (ie, if you've had two weeks where you've been ok & had no relapses at the present rate of activity/rest). Breathwork - esp incorporating diaphragm breathing - impresses upon the body that there is no imminent danger & therefore seeks to reasure & ensure the body & brain regain calmness. Consistency with these strategies is paramount in order to gradually build up the rate of activity & gradually reduce the amount of rest - 'gradual' is the key word . There's an M.E. website called foggyfriends you may find useful. I hope this helps. Go well & be kind to yourself. nicco.

Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:55 p.m.

Dear Ruth, Nicco has written such a helpful reply. Tiny, baby steps. Even the smallest achievement is something to be celebrated.

Ruth

Aug. 10, 2022, 4:16 p.m.

Thank you so much. This is great. My breathing is not good. My yoga teacher has suggested breathing techniques. X

Vivien

Aug. 10, 2022, 8:40 a.m.

Hi Mary, I think I am a doer (present) and but also a dreamer(future). I try not to dwell on the past too much. Every day I have a list of tasks that I would like to accomplish. Sometimes I am successful in crossing everything off said list, but other times something gets in the way and the list goes out the window. That is probably where I become a dreamer - whilst trying to sort out the complications of the days events, I'll be dreaming or thinking of nice/pleasant things to do or would like to do. Oh well, blow my list for today, I'm going to find my book and have a read! Take care ***

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:56 p.m.

Sometimes we do need to blow our list out of the window and do a bit of self-care. It sounds as if this is exactly what you are doing; well done!

Orangeblossom

Aug. 10, 2022, 8:59 a.m.

Hi Mary both my OH & I are historians & hoarders. I have piles of diaries from years ago. Antony started keeping a diary in 2009 but his is on-line. My brother suggested that that I started keeping a diary which I started in 1967, my third year at secondary school. Some of the diaries have disappeared. Both our children are the opposite. My son the tidy version, our daughter like me, finds being tidy more of a challenge.

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Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 1 p.m.

I think there are three types of hoarders. First, there are the collectors of things. The things have a value (financial or sentimental) and they are valued. Second, the historian - usually papers and books, rather than objects. Last, the person who lives so much in the present and the future he/she just never gets around to throwing anything out. Everything is a mess, with important documents interspersed with flyers for that pizza place that went out of business three years ago. The job becomes overwhelming and so it is left and left.

Orangeblossom

Aug. 10, 2022, 9:01 a.m.

P.S. I do try to live in the present & have had a modicum of success but it is a work in progress.

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Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 10, 2022, 9:30 a.m.

Morning Mary, Well some best laid plans don’t come to fruition - this morning I should have been swimming with a friend but she pulled out, so I went to meet another swimmer - I was delayed by half an hour - so the friend had to wait for ages in this heat…felt guilty but she knew I did my best to get there!! A 60 mile round trip for a 40 minute swim - but it was worth it! I have to check the phone diary each day as I sometimes forget things - and some of my friends still work or have very busy lives so we have to ‘pencil in’ meetings together. So I live in the now. I love to look at old photos in albums or the ones that pop up on my phone and remember lovely and sad times, but try not to dwell on the low moments. I look to the future but am guilty of worrying about whether or not I will ‘feel ok’ for some event that is planned - it usually works out ok…but the doubt is there in the back of my mind. We do want to go on holiday - but Mr. Bear is often the procrastinator and won’t commit…then when he’s convinced himself- we sometimes find we can’t get the right place to go to or dog-sitter can’t have the doggits!! So, I maybe a bit of all three?? Ha! Lol! Thank you for writing for us! Love and Bear hugs x x x

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Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 1:03 p.m.

Commitment is hard. I find it is getting harder. Right now, I don't want to go away as I don't want to leave the cat. He will shortly leave us and I want to love him and care for him until he does take that journey over the Rainbow Bridge.

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 10, 2022, 5:22 p.m.

Can he come with you and be a house cat in your place by the sea?

Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 6:19 p.m.

It would be cruel to him, I think. He has his favourite places in the garden and has always been an inside/outside cat. It won't be long now, sadly.

Nicco

Aug. 10, 2022, 10:25 a.m.

Thanks for your interesting blog, Mary. Due to lack of energy because of M.E., fibeomyalgia, & a whole host of other annoying illnesses, i tend to be an organiser & planner & 'putter outer' of ideas, but find i generally need someone else to convert these into action, although these days i find i need less help & can do a bit more myself, thankfully. I do, however, have to be careful to rein myself in, even when feeling more energetic, or i pay the price a few days later with a relapse from which it's harder to get myself back to where i was in terms of energy.

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Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 1:05 p.m.

I am in awe of you even planning and coming up with ideas. I tend to think of my depressive episodes as similar to ME. I am just sunk in resentful misery, and think you are amazing to do anything.

Nicco

Aug. 12, 2022, 2:57 p.m.

Mary, I understand because when I have relapses it's all I can do to drag myself out of bed & downstairs, curl up on the sofa &, if I'm lucky enough to be able to, I colour in my colouring book using only one single colour - I have whole books where I've just coloured the backgrounds only in black - because I can't even cope with choosing colours. I can't cope with the tv or music, even gentle soothing music &, as you said, I am sunk into resentful (& indignant) misery. It's like falling into a dark pit - I know the further down I fall, the harder it will be to claw my way back up, but somehow I just can't help falling. When I'm not too bad, I use those times to 'store up' positives so I can try to draw on them when I'm in the pit. Also, when I'm not too bad, if I get 'triggers' to past trauma, I am able to say, "that was then, this is now & if I want to go forward I must concentrate on the now. I can't change the past & no one's saying it was right but if I want to heal & leave the **** where it belongs, then I choose to say 'away unuseful & damaging thoughts - I will concentrate on what is right & good now, today'." This is much too hard to do if I'm in the pit or starting to fall into the pit. I guess the idea is to not let oneself even start to fall, but again that's easier said than done because, for me, the body has kept the score. Thanks again Mary. Be good to yourself. Nicco.

Catherine

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:53 p.m.

I’ve just lost (I think) a lengthy reply to Nicco and Ruth. It seemed to disappear into the ether. Anyway I’ll try again. I was agreeing with what Nicco said in reply to Ruth asking for strategies. I also have ME and Fibromyalgia and have been diagnosed with Long Covid following the Delta variant of Covid-19 last year. I think they may find some correlation between those with ME, fibro and LC, and indeed they are currently decoding the DNA of people with ME. They need 50,000 volunteers so if you have it and are interested you can register to participate. But you have to live in the UK. The website is decodeme.org.uk Anyway, back to the Long Covid. I’m assuming you have a formal diagnosis Ruth? If not I’d really recommend that you get one. It involves starting with your GP, and then having various tests - blood tests, chest X-rays etc. If you meet the criteria you get referred to the LC clinic in your area. The government has provided a lot of money for these clinics and certainly where I live they are superb. I have been seen by an occupational therapist, and a chest physio in person and they phone me to touch base every couple of weeks as well as giving me a contact phone number for help in between. The ENO (English National Opera) have been given the job of running breathing sessions, online for groups of LC patients. The way we breathe is so important. There is a waiting list and I start my six weeks of weekly sessions in September. In the meantime they send videos to get you started on breathing techniques to help with the breathlessness etc. whilst you are waiting for a place. We also have graded exercise groups, run locally - nothing like going to the gym - many people are sitting down - and you do what you can. But I’ve actually been told not to go any more at the moment as it was too much for me, probably because I also have other medical issues. BUT there was no sense that I’d failed. They more or less took any blame there was (not that anyone was to blame) because they said they should have realised I wouldn’t cope. You have to remember that this is new for all of them, and my chest physio said to me that they are aiming for a destination but they don’t actually know what that destination looks like, because this is a new disease and they are more used to knowing what the outcomes should be, if, say, they have someone recovering from a heart attack or a replacement knee. So I do hope that this gives you some encouragement Ruth, and that you are able to access the help that is available. For me the fatigue and the brain fog is the worst thing, and as yet they don’t have any answers for the brain fog, but as far as the fatigue goes it’s “listen to your body”. Sending love and best wishes to both you and Nicco and anyone else who’s affected. C x

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Mary Wednesday

Aug. 10, 2022, 1:06 p.m.

Brilliant! Thank you Catherine.

Sally

Aug. 11, 2022, 5:33 a.m.

Very helpful indeed, Catherine. Thank you so much. You’ve told us more than anything I have read anywhere.

Nicco

Aug. 12, 2022, 3:12 p.m.

Thanks Catherine. Yes, when I attended the M.E. clinic at Rainer's Hedge, they helped us to find our personal baseline, which is how long you can do gentle stretching exercises for without having a relapse, then halve it & do that every day for a fortnight, only increasing by 10% thereafter if we've been ok. I could only do 3mins to start with - that was my baseline. Others did much more but when some of us got ill with a cold, we had to go back to our baseline & start from there again. It took me less time than the others to build back up again, but as you said, there's no feeling of failure or blame. We also used different colours on a chart for different activities (eg, red for physical activity, orange for sedentary, yellow for rest & meditation, blue for total & complete rest & sleep). We were given stop watches & alarms so that we could make sure we didn't go over time (I was the kind of person who never sat down until I'd completed a task so that made me change my mind set). I'm glad there are LC clinics - maybe this is a way for the medical profession to look at, understand & start taking more seriously, illnesses like ME & fibro. Thanks also for the decodeme site - I didn't know about it. Go well & go easy on yourself. Nicco.

Catherine

Aug. 12, 2022, 5:43 p.m.

You can look at some of the decodeme presentations online Nicco, they’ve been doing webinars prior to the launch. They’re trying to make it as ME friendly as possible - so you can start and stop as much as you like if you get fatigued. I must apologise here for going off-topic. Sorry Mary, but there are analogies with what you’ve written

Catherine

Aug. 10, 2022, 12:55 p.m.

PS I don’t think you are eligible for a Long Covid clinic until you hit the 6 month mark with symptoms so you may need to take this into account Ruth

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Ruth

Aug. 10, 2022, 7:47 p.m.

Thank you so much. I went to the hospital last week. They did a chest x-ray. I have to go back for another lung test in September. It was diagnosed then as long covid. I am now waiting to see what treatment they are going to do.

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