future

The Future is Coming

And we rarely stop worrying about it. But it’s coming all the same.

And it’s going to arrive dressed in the clothes of the present. And you’re going to deal with it just like you dealt with each new day that arrived for all the years you’ve been blinking & breathing.

More on that in a second. For now, allow me to make a quick diversion.

My favorite of the Stoics is Marcus Aurelius. Besides being portrayed (however briefly) in the movie Gladiator, he wrote a pretty dope book called Meditations. Really, it was his personal journal, and the title translates as “to himself.”

I came across the book while haunting the stacks at Barnes & Noble when I was 18. It was exactly what I needed that no one knew to mention. A loose guide to living written by a hyper-intelligent guy towards the end of his life.

I scribbled down in my journal the following entry from Meditations:

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”

How baller is that?

“You will meet it, if you have to…” Yo! This dude implies that you might be dead before you run into some of the stuff you’re worrying about, and he’s right! How many people have dreaded extinction-level events only to get hit by a truck before the third act of Armageddon? What’s the point of all of that worrying?

“The same weapons of reason…?” This Caesar has bars! This makes sense since he bears more than a passing resemblance to the professional rapper, Lil Dicky.

Marcus Aurelius as he might have looked
Rapper Lil Dicky aka Dave Bund

He’s saying that if you meet the future you’ll face it with the wits that got you to the present. More importantly, I take it as a call to upgrade your weaponry, so to speak. Reading, conversing, debating; doing the things that will increase your baseline intelligence and problem-solving skills is crucial to meeting the future (if necessary) in a favorable light.

I’ve given away more copies of Meditations than any other book over the last 20 years as it’s incredibly accessible to everyone. Flip to any page and you get hits of wisdom – bangers, all. From Book 8, (I’ll paraphrase):

What a shame to be surprised that a fig tree should produce figs. What a shame that a physician should be surprised by a man with a fever, or the helmsman surprised by an unfavorable wind.”

He’s imploring himself to remember the nature of things. The world produces plenty, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be deluded into poor expectations. If you’re Charlie Brown and Lucy pulls the football away, that’s really something you should have seen coming.

Never let the future disturb you. You’ve got this. If you don’t, go get it.

Never Let the Future…

One of my favorite quotes is from Marcus Aurelius’ book, “Meditations” – which, if you haven’t read it, please pick up a copy (the penguin version is a great translation and highly affordable).

Image

A lot going on there! Implications? 

So what do we do? Make YOU the best, most sturdy version possible. Become more patient, more trusting, more confident, more humble, more flexible, more worthwhile. 

Be the YOU that you’d like to imagine your “future” self to be. Your “weapons of reason” are your smarts and your ability to adapt. Your ability to think of new ways of looking at things. 

Go forth. Be bold, and mighty forces will rush to your aid. Shrink not from the daily scrabble of bramble brush and political quick sand. Grow large in your ability to love those around you and be confident in your ability to manifest awesomeness from your very fingertips. 

Be bold. Worry not. Awe more. You know what to do, now go do it. 

Congrats! You’re living in the future!

So how’s that working out? The future I mean.

Everything you hoped? 

Oh. You don’t think this is the “future” or better yet “the FUUUUTTTTURRRREEE?” Just imagine a deep ominous voice announcing it. Or is that how you already imagine it? Like, maybe to qualify as the future it needs to be properly announced and fawned all over?

Make no mistake my friend. This is the future, and you are here. If you were alive yesterday, or a year ago, or 20 years ago, this qualifies. No, we’re not all living in Jetson-style cloud dwellings with robot maids, but that doesn’t change the fact that a significant portion of time has passed. I know, nine-year-old Rob is still pissed about his lack of a working hoverboard. 

So what do you think? Happy with your place in it? With your station in life, with your previous selves’ choices? Because you’re living here and you should be. Odd, because nothing you can do at this moment will change your immediate situation. Only, things you can start to do to change your new future. The good news is, for most of us, you get to have new “futures” all the time. Until you don’t. 

What do you want to do with this future to set up the next one, and the one after that? Every day, every hour is a chance to do something new – or more of what’s working for you. How will you use it?

The yacht doesn’t show up magically on your 50th birthday. The 30th wedding anniversary surrounded by adoring friends and family just doesn’t materialize out of thin air when you turn 60. The promotion, your business, your slate of memories of doing amazing things doesn’t just plop from the sky.

Odds are, when you hit those milestones you’ll likely feel like they won’t be the “future” either. They’ll feel just like this. Just like right now. After all, you’ll be there, and you only think you live in the present. 

I guess what you should ask yourself is this: Do you, only live in the future? And if not, what do you want to do now to make the new future what you’d like it to be?