Sunday, April 19, 2009


I think it was through watching Trading Places that I first became aware of the notion of "futures trading" - buying and selling goods not yet produced, on the basis of expert projections  (I think??).  Central characters in the film make huge amounts of money dealing on the basis of educated guess work and privileged information about future production - production which could be affected by a range of uncontrollable elements including weather and global politics.

Well its all old news now of course and we are all so much more familiar with the concept, the processes, the folly, the hubris and greed and catastrophic outcomes of that kind of finance.

But I have been thinking about futures quite a bit lately, with uncertainty about both my future employment and M's. 

So thats us. Along with  thousands - at least - of other people.

And I've been thinking about what a privileged position we personally are in to have the luxury of worrying and stressing about our future.  It is undoubtedly a gross obscenity the way banks, businesses and individuals have made fortunes out of the lives and futures of those less powerful and less informed. But even those of us who have been less powerful and less informed may still be living hugely privileged lives. 

Its really hard to write about this without sounding trite or glib but even being in a position of worrying about old age and pensions, or worrying about paying the mortgage for the next year or month or week - thats a luxury.  A luxury in comparison with the lives of hundreds of thousands around the world who aren't sure if they will eat this day or this week, or whether they will be alive tomorrow.

And I'm not quite sure what to make of the fact that my best survival tactic at the moment is to live as much as possible in the present.  To appreciate the very many good things in my life, to smell the sweet spring air and enjoy the flowers (and the tadpoles) and spend as much time as possible with family and friends.  To live life every day, rather than being defined and determined by anxiety about the future which is, after all, uncertain.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this in the light of the experience of those hundreds of thousands who have no choice but to live absolutely only in the present because that is all they have. My living in the present is so much an entirely different kind of reality from their living - or surviving, if they can -  in the present.

I am uneasy about the fact that thinking about this gulf of difference makes me feel better about my life and more able to cope. 

It does make me think that focussing on living in the present as a way to counterbalance the uncomfortable "luxury" of concern about the future is therefore a kind of double-luxury.

My brain is in danger of getting entirely tangled up with these thoughts, especially at a rather early hour for Saturday morning (I will probably post this rather later after checking that it is at least semi-coherent...) (semi-coherent is good enough, right?)  so I shan't go on any more.

But there is a post here at  Brian Miller's blog  which expressed very well a truth I have to go on and on trying to remember and live by.

And here is the latest tadpole update, about 4 weeks old, wriggling around with - I'm guessing - no thoughts of tomorrow.


R.L. Bourges said...

The wrigglers look pretty busy (we are swamped with tadpoles at the almost-froglets stage at the moment).

You express it very well. As strange as it may seem,angsting about the future IS a luxury. When you're scrambling to survive you don't give much thought to the future.

I must then conclude that, despite my straightened circumstances, I am still living in the lap of luxury :-) All things are relative, yes?

Enjoy what you have while you have it, letty.


ArtSparker said...

That woods photo is sumptuous. I don't know what anyone can do about everything except"Let your little light shine", as the song says - which of course means different things to different people.

Brian Miller said...

i think you expressed it great yourself, but thanks for the link love. living now, not allowing the anxiety of what may happen over ride it....truly a luxury. sometimes even just need to hang onto the hope of something greater yet to come. have a great day!

Robert said...

What an abundance of taddies... Life's struggle for them innit? But they go on no matter what. They just do it for the sake of survival, for life. We can most certainly learn quite a bit from your tadpoles.

Right now I'm listening to a beautiful piano version of the song Mad World. Coincidence? :-)

xo, r

Akelamalu said...

None of us know what the future holds, so there's little point in worrying about it.

Lynne said...

Letty, your photo to me shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Beautiful photo.

I am just starting to read a book called"The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle about living in the NOW. It's all about casting off anxiety about what the future holds and all about just enjoying life NOW. I look forward to helpful advice from it. Your post is all about the same thing and I totally agree. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Stop worrying about the tomorrow and events that may never happen and just enjoy.


Barbara said...

The tadpoles make me feel a lot better than the uncertainty about the future, something that haunts all of us right now. I LOVE the first picture; it is such a good illustration of the FUTURE!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Having the opportunity to live in the moment does seem to be a luxury and yet it is one we should all keep aiming for.
The other thing is that everything is relative and you have to handle what you karmically chose, and others have to handle what they karmically chose. Which is not meant to sound trite or dismissive but to acknowledge that everything is always as it should be even though that all too frequently sounds utterly unreasonable.

Steve said...

I love those little tadpoles!

Re. employment, your coping technique is perfect -- day by day. That's the same one I use. After all, maybe nothing will happen, and then we'll have been silly to be worried, right?

Squirrel said...

Worrying in general and worrying about the future...I wonder (besides humans) what other creatures do this? Thanks for the link to Brian's post --I haven't been over there, been out and about these days and not on the computer much. Today is gloomy and chilly so I'm inside and trying to catch up. And trying not to think too much about the future (a place where I'll be older and older and older and so forth) Now more than ever living in the now is so important. You're an inspiration, and I for one think you'll keep your job --(and I have given this some thought.) it simply makes sense.

Shammickite said...

I wake every morning and count my blessings.
I'm still alive, I can look forward to a day when it's safe to go out on the streets, there are no fears of bombs in the marketplace or snipers on a rooftop.
I have enough money to survive. I have a family who I love and who love me.
Wonderful luxuries.

lettuce said...

thanks for your comments