The future only exists in our minds. So why do we often imagine the worst?
When you’re deeply immersed in the challenges of caregiving for a loved one, thoughts about the distant future can seem distant and almost impossible to grasp. Your focus naturally narrows to the next treatment date, the upcoming doctor’s appointment, or the looming hospital stay.
During a period when my husband was receiving treatment overseas at a cancer clinic, our lives were in a state of constant flux. The treatment plan changed daily, and we had no clear idea when he would return home. I found myself grappling with frustration due to the lack of a concrete plan. People around us would inquire about his well-being and when he’d be back, but I had no answers, and neither did he. Consequently, I often found myself avoiding thoughts about the future or occasionally slipping into moments of self-pity.
The Concept of the Future
It was during this time that I was reminded of an essential truth: the future only exists in our minds. None of us possess a crystal ball to predict what lies ahead. We often assume that our future will merely be an extension of our past experiences. However, if our future is a construct of our thoughts, why not envision something better?
Envisioning a Brighter Tomorrow
I started to visualize a future where we were gathered on the deck of our new home. My husband and I were sitting around a cozy fire pit, sipping wine while our child enjoyed a comforting cup of hot chocolate. It was a tranquil evening, and we were all in good health, savoring precious family moments together.
Shaping Your Future
We manifest the future we hold in our minds, so why not paint a brighter picture than our past? Often, we tend to prepare ourselves for the worst-case scenario, imagining it in great detail. Yet, we seldom take the time to dream of a future that’s even better. Life is inherently unpredictable, whether we’re dealing with illness or not. Nonetheless, we’re often hesitant to envision a more optimistic future. Yet, it is through these dreams that we begin to shape our destiny.
If you are caregiving for a loved one, take a moment to envision a future that you desire, and revisit it frequently. It doesn’t need to be a grand vision; it could be as simple as receiving an “all clear” report from the doctor or embarking on that family trip you’ve always wanted. Although I didn’t know how or if we’d have that new home with the beautiful deck and fire pit, I thought about it often, especially during moments when I felt bogged down by present realities. I want to think about and thus live into a better future.
So, seek out your vision of a better tomorrow and live into it.