Last week my dear Mom called a fortune teller. She wanted to ask her several things, but settled on one question. The fortune teller gave her some random response, an answer I could have given her. My mom couldn’t ask any follow-up questions because there was a one question limit. I laugh at my Mom, scoffing her about the call, but she is old school, believing in star alignments, signs, and superstition.
Although most of us probably don’t consult a fortune teller or a psychic, we still obsess about the future. I think it starts as soon as you are teenager, when people ask you, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” After you “grow up”, the next question, is “When are you going to get married?” After being married for a few years, you are assaulted by “When are you going to have children?” After your kids grow up, then talk about retirement dominates older people’s conversations. It is a constant cycle, trying to live in the present, but inside, worrying about the future, questioning what will happen ten days from now or ten years from now.
Since I am in my thirties now, I have enough experience to admit that I am one of those people who has spent a significant amount of time worrying about the future. I’ve always craved a plan. Consequently, I’ve lived, thus far, a very linear life. There are things I wouldn’t do, like join the Peace Corp or dabble in a more “creative” career because of my fear of the future. I often catch myself asking, “How is this all going to work out?” I know there are remedies for my futuristic questioning like meditation, cultivating the zen way of life, and chanting the live in the present mantra. It hasn’t worked for me yet. Even after reflecting on my past and admitting that life has worked out, I still am in a marriage with the future man.
I look at my four year old daughter, wondering if she worries about her own future, as she sings, “I am a boogie-baby and I am going to do the twist.” She laughs, her eyes shining like speckles of glitter, and looks to us to clap. I tell my husband, I wish I could be her, free, unencumbered by all of the what I am going to do in the minutes, days or years ahead questions. Just as I think my daughter has all the answers I am looking for, she asks me “Momma, what are we doing tomorrow?”
Maybe the fortune tellers are on to something. They have figured out that we are all victims of what’s next.