Here’s how over-anticipating might make us less effective

Are there downsides to being future-minded?

While I was backpacking Thailand, I read the book Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple. I finished the book while I was waiting in the airport in Krabi, Thailand. At the end of the book, Semple included a poem called “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop (read it here).

Maybe it was the fact that I was in the airport in a foreign country, alone, with no wifi. These days, it feels like you’re truly alone when you can’t talk to someone you love, in-person or digitally.

I re-read Bishop’s poem over and over again for an entire hour- that’s how hard it struck me. So, inspired by Bishop’s poem, and lack of anything better to do, I came up with a remastered version.

Act II of Losing

by Lexi Robertson

my mother’s watch
like time, never mine
like me, it counted the hours
I tick, I talk

the places I lived, filtered cities
make me ache to forget
—-to remember
the quiet expat walks, feet softly smacking

My Parents House, where we grew
together; cold nights in soft blankets
someday, it will be lost, too
now, I do not live there.

and how will it be to lose
My Parents House, one day, I muse
while mine, temporary
my hand, it lingers on the wall

adieu and goodbye: are different
goodbye, said often, a see you later
adieu, of other language, said seldom
it means goodbye, but for always.

that day, still faraway
adieu from me—-to house
as day grows clear, slow, then sudden
I can live without my mother’s watch

In school, I was often lectured to about the importance of planning and anticipating the future. However, when I re-read this  poem a few months after writing it, I wondered if it’s possible for us to over-anticipate.

Maybe instead of anticipating too far into the future, we should focus on the “right now”. In the poem, instead of nervously preparing for my future loss, I could have talked about how I enjoy something, even if it is temporary.

We definitely need a balance of planning in our lives, but I think we’d all be happier people if we could better focus on the present moment.

What do you think? Are there downsides to being too future-minded?

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