“What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that? And the next thirty years?” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
Three loaded questions that depress me immensely. There is nothing in the world that I so want to escape as much as the future, and I’m living in a town that is home to several of the world’s most deadliest snakes. But being bitten or killed by a snake doesn’t bother so much as the idea of what I’m going to do with the rest of my life before that snake kills me. It’s something that I try painfully to resist thinking about, but of course, I do.
There was a time when all we thought about was the future, and maybe that’s still the case for you. When we were children all we wanted was to grow up. We had plans in our head and maps in our knapsacks. We had photos on our fridge of us in a work uniform. We were doctors and scientists and teachers and crossing guards. We were never worried. We were never scared. And we never once thought, not even for a second, that we’d rather stay in elementary school forever and never try to become those things.
I guess the scary part about getting older is watching how fast time goes by. One day I was graduating high school, the next I had a university diploma, and now I’m still waiting for that perfect job and that perfect house, and I never got to wear the uniform that I drew on my parent’s fridge. I worry about what will happen to me before I get to experience all of those things. I’m paranoid about cancer and diseases and people dying without me getting a chance to say goodbye. I’m worried about growing old alone, even though I have a partner and a family- but I worry about what might happen to them, too.
Of course, I know I shouldn’t waste a breath worrying about any of it because in the end, I’ll be one of those people who’s life just passes her by. I know I should never take anything for granted and I should “live each day as if it were my last,” but when I think about it like that, it only gets me more paranoid because I start thinking I’m about to die.
And the trouble is, I just don’t know how to go back to that little girl with the maps in her knapsack and ask her where I should be heading. And even if I could see her again, chances are she would ask me the very same thing.