January 5, 2024

Do you spend more time thinking about the future or the past? Why?

I bought an agenda this afternoon. I saw one on a bookstore’s website that looked quite nice but thought against it, opting for one from the dollar store. A three-dollar commitment.

Last year, I was using OneNote to help me remember what all I wanted to do in a day. It worked out well because it’s a cross-platform app, so I could check the list on my phone, iPad, or computer. Late into the year, I stopped being so diligent about it. Despite all of the technology that I have at my fingertips, a paper day timer seems like the best option to help me organise myself on a daily basis.

These day planners are forward-looking. Well, the one I got has year-long 2023 and 2024 calendars in it but not one for 2025. For 2024, each week is laid out across two pages, not front and back, but back on the left and front on the right. So, Monday through Thursday are on the back of the page on the left-hand side and Friday through Sunday on the front of the page on the right-hand side. There’s a notes section at the bottom on the right page, too.

Me, I tend to be more backward-looking. The past is safe because it’s already happened. The future is uncertain, playing with my dreams and stoking my anxieties. The past, however, I can replay like a movie that I’ve already seen. I know what’s going to happen at the end of the story.

Trouble is, looking backward like this takes time into the future – I spend the time to come on things that have already been. It’s wasteful. What new stories could be written with those moments? What if I were to be anxious as I were creating new memories? My grip strength is pretty piss poor, but my memory is better so I have a hard time letting go. The future is always just out of reach, as it’s meant to be. Otherwise, it’d be the present.

The only way forward is through acceptance. If I can just accept what happened in the past and that I cannot change it, but I can learn from it, my perspective could shift one-hundred-eighty degrees. No matter how many different ways I try to interpret the things I wish I had done differently, the outcome is always the same. Like a movie that I’ve already seen, I know how the story ends.

My day planner for this year is setting me up pretty good to move forward, giving me only enough room to remember that 2023 happened, and not so much to let me get overwhelmed by 2025. For 2024, I just need to take it one week at a time and leave only a little bit of room at the end of the right page for the memories I want to take forward with me. They, too, will eventually be on the left as each page is turned to signal the arrival of the week ahead.

It’s just a three-dollar commitment, after all.


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