Many years ago, Carly Simon recorded a popular song entitled “Anticipation.” The lyrics speak longingly but knowingly of an uncertain future. Waiting, especially amidst uncertainty, often makes us anxious and apprehensive until we realize how much of the future we control through our own decisions and actions.
Simon’s sultry song concludes with the repeating verse, “These are the good old days.” This mantra serves to remind us that today is the tomorrow we once dreamed about.
Thinking about the future need not be such a frightening or complex undertaking. Likewise, it need not involve an endless rehashing of the past with all of its coulda, shoulda, wouldas. Instead, we merely need to reflect on how we got where we are right now, and how the decisions and actions that led us here will serve us in the future.
How well did we anticipate and adapt to conditions? How did we react when the situation turned out differently than we expected? Who offered guidance and support when we needed it? And what did these experiences teach us about ourselves, our relationships, and the value of paying it forward?
In large measure, we make the future. To the extent we cannot control everything, we can control what really counts: How we react to it and what we do to help others cope and adapt.