It's never as bad as I think it will be

 Anxious man standing on rock looking at sunset over water

I have a habit of trying to predict my future.

It would actually mean something if my predictions were correct.

But they never are. I never get it exactly right.

I’m lucky if I ever get it even half right.

But, for whatever reason, I go on predicting.

I think that the more I think about something, the more accurate I will be.

But it doesn’t work.

I rehearse entire conversations in my head.

I could win awards for set designs of scenes that never take place.

It would be romantic if it weren’t so depressing.

My thoughts are arrogant. They think they know best, even though they know next to nothing.

They’re the cool guy in the room, the one puffing up his chest and bloviating to whomever will listen.

And the problem is that I listen. I treat my thoughts as if they are reality.

I let them swing me around in circles until I’m too dizzy to know the difference.

It would be embarrassing if it weren’t so intoxicating.

What do I think I am, a soothsayer?

Do I think I have magical powers that no one else has?

Why do I try to predict the future when navigating the present is hard enough?

What do I think I will accomplish?

My ego asks, “A penny for your thoughts?” when, deep down, it knows it only accepts twenty-dollar bills.

Thinking creates the ego.

It forms it like a child’s sandcastle on the beach.

It’s illustrious, it’s presumptive, and it will only be washed away.

The truth is that I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

My ego tries to build it because it knows it lacks its own substance.

It’s the great irony of the over-confident. Willing life to be a certain way is a recipe for disaster.

Much better to open up to whatever may come.

To smile in a windstorm, knowing the stillness is just over the horizon.

Now I approach life with acceptance.

It doesn’t mean I’m not scared because most of the time I’m terrified.

It means I’m ready for whatever may come.

I’ve seen bad things, I’ve overcome difficult times, and I know all points meet at the horizon.

It sounds fatalistic, but it’s oddly freeing to embrace life with open arms.

It’s not a reckless abandon. It’s a quiet knowing.

It’s the stories grandparents tell their grandchildren. They don’t always make the most sense, but their worth is self-evident.

Still, there are times when I try to predict where my life will take me.

My thoughts stir, my anxiety flares, and I try to do the impossible.

But that’s just it. It’s not possible.

When the world is still, and I’m all alone, I picture where I will be in the next five years.

I imagine being granted a wish to know my outcome, to learn of my fate.

I think for a second.

I smile.

And I gently decline the offer.