It’s been quite sometime since I’ve written anything just for the indulging pleasure. I was beginning to reminisce upon the days when words seemed like nothing more than just subconscious thoughts. When the words I would speak came from a deep and sincere place in my heart.
But I guess it’s okay that we give ourselves time to reminisce. It’s a form of reflection. A way to look back and question the decisions we’ve made, because sometimes we just need to give ourselves the time to reflect upon the discourse of our lives.
Reflections allows us to actualize the futurity we set up to achieve; our aspirations and dreams.
It’s a form to see if the goals we set ourselves were accomplished; if all our pretensions desires were satisfied, and if any wasted wish made at 11:11 P.M ever came true. What fascinates me the most about reflection, is how it allows us to see why sometime the wishes wasted, the goals we set, or the desire we had, DON’T come true. Because in all reality, the future is a place that exist only in our minds. And regardless of how much you plan for it to go a certain way, look a certain way, or feel a certain way, there is no guarantee that it will go as planned.
And sometimes, this unalienable truth about the future, can really fuck us over.
I think the first time I got a taste of the “future”, was probably 4 years ago when my great-grandmother passed away. As I’ve mentioned before, in all cultures, specifically Latin cultures, the eldest members of your family are the core of the family tree. They’re the ones who somehow can manage to get your Tio and Tia, that probably divorced years back, to sit down and reconcile their differences. They’re the ones who, no matter how much you already ate, they can convince you of still being hungry. They’re the ones who even at 78, will baby sit bratty little kids on a Friday night without charge. But most importantly, they’re the ONLY ones, who can get the whole family under one roof during the holidays or just a simple summer barbecue.
For my family and I, my Nana was that person. The last year before she passed away, she managed to pull all the family to come and visit her here in city. I mean, we had people from all coasts come out to the hood and spend time with her. We all partied together, had cookouts together, went sight seeing together. We did it all together, as a family. And for a second, I began to picture this future where she still managed to push through another 6 or 7 years, and my whole family would finally begin to spend more time together. But that’s the thing about the future. It’s abstract. It’s only real to the eye of the beholder and it’s never set in stone.
She died unexpectedly one night when she slipped in the shower. She didn’t die because some disease deteriorated her body or peacefully upon her sleep. It was just one misstep she took, that slip her life right under her feet. And just like that, this make-belief land that I had imagine was slip right under my feet too. But that’s life.
Today, as I sit here and reflect upon the futures I once I created for myself, I laugh a little and I also cry a little at the resulting truths that unfolded this past year. But there’s another fascinating aspect about the future, that sometimes isn’t asked for but it’s given. And that’s maturity.
As cliché as this shit may seem, you do somehow learn valuable lessons from what the resulting futures held in store for you. You grow as person, regardless of how side tracked you are from your “expected” destination in life. And we as humans never acknowledge that as a positive. Somehow, we are programmed to believe that just because at a certain age we haven’t met what is expected from us, that we’ve managed to fail ourselves.
If you’re fresh-out-of-high school and you don’t go to college, you’re recognized as being some sloth or irresponsible person. If by 25 you aren’t married, or making the least 5 figures, you’re ridiculed for being wasteful or insufficient. And the cycle of “expected-life-benchmarks” continues, with no one questioning why the fuck and who the fuck made these rules. But most importantly, we spend our life living up to these expected futures, mindlessly forgetting what would happen if what we asked for, isn’t really what we wanted?
Not so long ago, I woke up from a regular mid-day nap, weeping repulsively. It was a nightmare of the realities of my present life; products of the futures I had once expected. The dream began pleasantly. I had woken up in a beautiful sunlight room, with a stunning lake-view. As I walked into the bathroom, I saw a reflection of myself, but only my face looked like it had aged 30 years and there was a very somber look in my eyes. I touched my face in disbelief, and I notice a wedding ring on my finger. Then I heard the voice of current lover of mine call my name from the distance. But there was a strong vexatious tone to his voice. He walks into the bedroom, and I approached him reaching for his arms for refuge. But very coldly, he denies me and walks away saying he’s in a rush to work and has no time to attend to my needy self. I remember my heart sank, but suddenly, I was in my grandmother’s old apartment building. She was sitting on her bed putting her shoes on. But she looked healthy, just like I had remembered her before she turned ill. I was so happy to see her so well, and rushed into her arms. She hugged me tightly, and began to cry. I remember her telling me she didn’t want to go back and I was confused. “What do you mean go back,” I asked. “To the nursing home,” she said. “No one every visits me there. No one ever cares.” And that’s when I realized, even if she was alive and well like I’d always wanted, even in my dream she was neglected and alone. Once again, the scenery changed, and now I was standing inside of a nursing home watching my grandmother look out the window, desperately waiting for someone. But no one came.
My dream startled me. Everything I had dreamed reflected an aspect of some kind of future I imagined, but it didn’t end with a happy ending. And I realized, regardless of how I much I stress over how I want my future to be, I can’t guarantee it will happen. No one can. I for one, have victimized myself for following these benchmarks that society has systematically created for all of us. It’s some fucked up shit really.
Stepping out of the box, looking at yourself from the outside and witnessing how you live your life up to these expected futures, is like watching someone run a never-ending marathon. There isn’t a grand prize at the end, because we continuously work ourselves all our lives to out do ourselves or those around us. But most importantly, we continue to recreate futures for us to “look forward” to. I just hope that in the end, we give ourselves some time to reflect. Because in the end, reflections allows us to actualize the futurity we created for ourselves. And reminds us, that the future is an abstract place; the present is where we should live in.