Forward Thinking

Spend time with little kids long enough and you’ll realize they’re hardly ever content with their age. I asked my niece, four years old at the time, what she was most looking forward to.

“Being five.” No hesitation. No emotion. And she’d just turned four, so nearly a year to wait.

Five looked much better than four.

Third graders itch to be in fifth grade. The fifth graders are drooling all over themselves be the top dogs in middle school. Middle schoolers would chew their feet off to be in high school.

It’s in high school that this dynamic splinters a bit. Pardon my stereotypical split, but when I was that age, the percentages were about 50/50. It’s probably not too far off today:

About half want to plunge into adulthood, fully forward thinking (or so it seems)—college or career bound. Or maybe familyhood is calling.

The other half would give anything to pause time and stay in the echoing hallways, musty gyms and drama-filled homerooms until life dumps just the right opportunity into their laps. Maybe this group is doing less forward thinking and more forward worrying (not that the other group isn’t terrified—they’re just better at hiding it).

Or maybe they’re not thinking at all, content to be carried passively right up to the gates of adulthood—and then some.

Either way, the future is barreling down on them, and it’s decision time. Because unless some odd arrangement has been made with the faculty, the school likely won’t let them hang around the campus for an undetermined number of years like so many adult children twiddling thumbs in the corners of their parents’ basements do.

I was no different through most of my growing-up years; I always wanted to bust through to the next stage. I don’t think I was bratty or vocal about it, but I do remember frequent discontentment.

And I’m doing it again. To the point of not enjoying the moments. And now I’m, let’s see, I’m how old? [pause here while I do the math, I don’t keep track of my age anymore…2018 minus 1970-something… Gulp.]

Well, I’ll just keep that medium-largish number to myself, okay?

At any rate, several facets of life are unpleasant at the moment. A couple of those are self-inflicted and some exist simply because the planet still spins. I want those chapters to be done now, please.

Over. Gone. Let’s move on with it, already—see what the next chapter has. Because the next chapter will be nice, clean, and stress-free, right? [insert every eye-rolling emoticon ever created here]

But when I really examine the last few years, good things happened. Lots of them. Lots of blessings. Lots of celebrations and milestones. Lots of moments…

And shame on me for not living in those moments when they came around because I was too busy “forward thinking” to the next task or season.

I do that with my writing. I want to be over the “learning” stage and on to the next “proficient” stage as quickly as possible.

However, and I’m not sure who to credit this to, there’s a theory in the writing world that says the first million words anyone writes are pretty much crap. You’re learning. Growing. Fine-tuning voice and style—and I’m nowhere near one million words.

I’m in the fledgling stage. Back to the third grade, you impatient [insert medium-largish number]-year-old.

This wasn’t supposed to be another sappy, lightbulb-moment post, but alas!

I guess consistent, patient contentment while striving for the next goal is the goal for the season. No matter the trials or chapters.

Capture the moments.

Batten down during the storms.

Then strive for the next goal.

And hopefully I won’t end up in my mother’s basement.

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog and the first Friday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.