Fear of the Future – Why worry?

Why worry?

Why is it that we spend so much time worrying about the future?  I am as guilty as the next person.  I felt sick to my stomach every time I thought about my son sitting his GCSE’s from 1stJanuary right through to the very first day of his exams.  I made myself feel so stressed, imagining every kind of awful scenario that could potentially happen.

And where did it get me exactly?  Nowhere!

Did it increase the amount of revision he did?  No.

Did it improve the quality of the revision he did? No.

Has my stress and worry done anything to materially change how my son feels about or performs during his exams?  Erm…no!

Crystal ball anyone?

Every day, I talk to people who are fixated on a future they cannot face.  Sometimes, there is a degree of certainty about that future but there is never enough certainty or accuracy to justify making ourselves feel ill and damaging our mental health over.

Ask yourself now what it is you are most worried about….I am prepared to bet there is something that lies in front of you, in the immediate or distant future that is keeping your mind busy, worrying about it.

Now what if I told you that no amount of worrying is going to change how that future event plays out. Would you believe me?  I would guess not.  But think about it deeply for a moment.  How can worrying change anything?

The simple answer is that it can’t.  Life unfolds moment to moment, whether we want it to or not.  And even whether or not we participate.  You could sit perfectly still and do nothing, and the future would come.

Another way

But what if, instead of worrying, you decided to use that energy to concentrate on what you are doing now? Focus your attention on this exact moment and enjoy it.  Give it your best.  Allow yourself to invest your whole self into this moment.

Because when you do, something magical happens.  Because you have given the best of yourself to this moment, the quality of the next moment will be better.  You will create a calm, orderly and peaceful future….and without the worry and stress that you would otherwise have dragged along with you.

What will be, will be

I wasted far too much of my energy on worrying about my son’s exams.  It wasn’t until I drove him to school for the first one and sat in the car watching him walk into the school that I realised there was nothing I could do except trust.  Trust that he knew what he was doing.  Trust that I was strong enough to support him no matter what.  And trust that I have raised him well enough to weather the storms that lie ahead no matter what he achieves.

None of the time I spent awake at night imagining him not getting the grades he needs has made any difference to him.  But every supportive hug, every smile, every moment that I have showed him how much faith I have in him has paid dividends.  Dividends that only came from setting aside my worry about the future and being in the present moment with my son.

What will be will be. And in the meantime, I plan to enjoy my summer and be there for my son for the rest of his exams and far beyond.

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