Like a meteorologist attempting to predict the weather, we can create our own forecast for our life. And like the weather, even with all of the best intentions, forecasts could be wrong.
The weather forecast this past week for another Nor’Easter was very wrong, we barely got an inch of snow. However, the standard anticipation, excitement, and perhaps anxiety that comes with a snowstorm ensued. Grocery stores were busy, schools closed early, and even in my own work-from-home life, I prepared to bunker down. Then reflection came - what else do we try to forecast in our lives?
We plan out our meals, outfits, workouts, parties, appointments, volunteering, sleep-schedule, and even dates. In a society that constantly plans, we try to create a forecast for our life or a manageable plan about how things should go. People make 5-year plans, 10-year plans, vacation plans, baby plans, marriage plans, retirement plans, and even after-life arrangements. With the planning comes budgeting, time-blocking, scheduling, vision-boarding, and a lot of thinking and praying. This isn’t a bad thing. I believe that with the over stimulation of information and technology, we feel both a necessity and an innate desire to map out our lives to make sure we don’t miss out on anything. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a very real thing.
Forecasting can be viewed as an attempt to predict/plan the future, based off of logical reasons, statistics, and sometimes simple intuition to give us a certain feeling of control or structure. You plan out the perfect outfit for a big meeting, then spill coffee on your shirt when you're ready to walk out the door. You planned to be married by now with kids, but for some reason you're not and you're actually okay with that. You planned to be retired by now, but you're 65 and you still enjoy your job. How we react or respond when things don't go as planned speaks to our resiliency and state of mind.
We can always choose to put out our best effort, with pure intentions, and perhaps even plan the pathways of our life, but we can never predict the course we will need to take to achieve a dream, or even have certainty of our future. The only thing we can ascertain is the present-moment. Sometimes forecasting, planning, or mapping out everything is really just a guise for control. A way to soothe anxiety and while it can certainly help us feel like we are on the “right” track, we need to be present-moment aware. We need to tap into how we feel and be aware of our current situation, so we can navigate through life with flexibility instead of being on autopilot.
For instance, I used to pray for a tiny piece of paper to drop down from heaven with the name of the man I was supposed to marry, just so I could know who to look for. That never happened, but practicing stillness and going inward through meditation allowed me to become clear about the type of partner I would want, and in a way became my tiny piece of paper, guiding me through my relationships. It's sometimes hard to accept that we can’t predict the future; sometimes meal-preps fail, sometimes people get divorced, sometimes snowstorms don’t come, and sometimes all of the planning in the world cannot prepare you for what life throws at you, but it's still okay. We are always exactly where we need to be and with agility of both mind and spirit, we can navigate while still letting go to the forces of the world, because the only thing we can attempt to control is our breath.