Sunday, 20 October 2013
Where other people assume the future will bring something better than they have right now, that life is essentially a matter of onwards and upwards, my imagination runs riot with all manner of unpleasant possibilities.
I'll run out of money; I'll go senile; I'll get some dreadful illness; the house will fall down; I'll live to 100, by which time I'll be a brainless vegetable; I'll die alone and not be found for weeks; I'll turn into a crazy eccentric, shouting at people in buses; I'll be dumped in some vile care home; and so on and so forth.
Why do I have these gloomy (and extremely unlikely) scenarios? Why don't I assume the exact opposite,a happy and healthy old age in which nothing very nasty happens and I enjoy all the things I enjoy right now?
After all, the future, by definition, is largely unknowable. Anything could happen, and there are sure to be plenty of surprises and odd quirks of fate. Good luck is just as likely as bad luck, and to dwell on the second is irrational and perverse.
But then, as we all know, humans are irrational creatures and trying to banish the irrational from our psyches is no easy task. I can tell myself over and over that my fears are unbalanced, that I'm looking at things from a lop-sided perspective, but the fears defy my earnest logic.
No doubt in twenty years' time, if I'm still on this planet, I'll laugh at all the absurd fears of my earlier years and wonder how on earth I imagined such grim turns of event. And then I'll have a chocolate biscuit and a nice cup of tea.
* It's very common but there doesn't seem to be a technical name for it. Secret Agent Woman, any ideas?