“Life is lived forward” is not just a positive-thinker’s mantra, or a spiritual refrain, it is a fitting rule-of-the-road in these times of great and unusual challenges.
The past three years have been stressful, with the stress of daily work aggravated by that of ‘not-knowing’ and ‘having-doubts- about-tomorrow’. The existential angst is palpable.
The frustration that is out there, the despair that gnaws at the spirit but hides from view — these prey on the young and those already dealing with heavier burden. Because I’d like to imagine that others are going through a similar bout with introspection, and self-evaluation, I have some thoughts to share that may help.
Some say that this generation is likely the first that will have a future less bright than the one immediately previous. Signs abound that they may be right on.
But because I am a social worker, I don’t try to focus on things that economists and demographers are better able to understand; instead, I focus on quality of life.
Everything we all believed we could get if we only followed the formula of academic performance and educational attainment just got a lot harder to get; and perhaps for some, it has become out of reach.
A decent house, a green car, a high-paying career, a healthy family with all its needs met — these are, for many, dreams that serve only to remind us how long the journey remains out of our one-bedroom apartment, used car, low-wage job, and a young adult life in relative isolation, away from the peering eyes of friends who either judge or are more fortunate to be from wealthy families.
Yet, life must be lived forward, and to do this you must not lose hope. It truly is a jungle out there, and you must not give yourself permission to be a helpless prey.
“In this game,” Micky Ward, the boxer-fighter, once said, “you cannot give up.”
If beaten, bruised or broken, don’t give up; as you stand back up, you will discover who you truly are, what you truly value.
If it seems you are being pulled back, do not despair; like a rubber sling, you are being prepared to be propelled forward.
If you have fallen, do not faint in your mind; you will bounce back to a level higher than you had previously reached.
Aside from positive self-talk, find this time of transition as an opportunity to engineer a stronger version of yourself — one more resilient, more tough-minded, more able to take the punches that inevitably come.
To those of you already doing this, reach out and teach others how one can live life forward. From my end, listen to the searching version of yourself. A big part of the healing and the answer lies in Him.