As in, literally, I don’t know how to speak about my future – I don’t know what kinds of words to use or the proper tone of voice or anything like that. What happens a lot of the time is that I’ll end up rephrasing statements several times until I’ve exhaled a jumbled word cloud that I feel is safe enough to exist out in the real world – in the space outside of my head.
And by “safe enough,” I mean that I will have qualified or downplayed whatever I originally said so much that it’s no longer a statement – it’s more like a question? The statement has been declawed. It’s got no teeth left. It’s not going to actually do anything out in the world — it just floats out there for a little while.
Last week we met with a financial advisor as part of our “Ok, Now We Really Need to Get Our Shit Together” plan. The first meeting was just a getting-to-know-each-other session, and our advisor asked us a lot of questions about our goals for the future and about the things we’re working to achieve – the things that we want besides strictly the financial stuff. What do we want our lives to look like in five years? In 10? In 25? Because that’s all that money is, right? It’s simply the currency we acquire and then exchange to build the lives that we want for ourselves.
My wife has a pretty clear vision for her future self – she envisions retirement, and having the time to spend on all the hobbies she loves but does not have much time for in her present life. She knows what she wants that time to look like, and to feel like, and she has no problem putting that vision out into the Universe.
I, on the other hand, stumbled hard to answer this question. It’s not that I don’t have dreams or a vision for myself – I absolutely do. But I find it to be incredibly challenging to share these dreams with other people. Or even to write them down. Even here, just now, I was going to call them “plans” but I stopped myself – because are they really plans? Are they REAL enough to be plans? Will people think I’m ridiculous if I say these are my plans? Because that means they are things I think I can actually achieve … and am I ready to say that I do believe that?
So, I humbly present to you what I said to answer his question — it went something like this:
Well, I know I want to be working … I don’t see myself ever really retiring. I sort of want to be doing some of the things I currently do at my job, like … working with people to … help them … but maybe on my own or with a small business that I might partially own, or maybe just work at, I don’t know … but yeah, to sort of be doing that out on my own. And I like writing so I want to maybe incorporate that somehow, but I’m not like, a fantastic writer or anything so it’s not like I’m a writer writer, but maybe that could be part of the business. But I know that’s all really hard and it might not be realistic or possible so I’m not like … set on it, or whatever. And I’m studying to become a certified personal trainer so that maybe I can work with people to help them and … like, I could maybe also do that on the side to make money, but I don’t even really know whether I’d be able to get any clients or whether any of this will work out at all, so, it might have been a waste of money, maybe, I don’t know. But yeah. So … something like that maybe, but I don’t really know for sure how anything is going to work out.
And I am sitting here cringing even while typing this out because, like, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THAT SHIT? Is that me? Is that really what I am putting out into the Universe? Because that sure as hell isn’t the best version of who I am and who I know is inside of me and it sure as hell isn’t anything close to the future I want to create for myself.
Where are my claws? Where are my teeth?
Why is this so difficult for me? Why am I triple-bubble-wrapping my intentions before sending them out into the world? What am I afraid of? And what am I going to do to change it?