The Fast-Forward Button

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

12 August 2021

Have you ever wished you could have a fast forward button for life? I have. I’d want to rewind right back to trudge through my life’s muck, but I’m always curious to see what the outcome will be. Do I need to find some deep-seated inner strength to push through? Or perhaps simply relaxing and giving myself a little self-care would be a better option. Since a life fast-forward button is not feasible with my current soothsaying ability, I’ll never be able to know for certain which way to go; although, I’ve learned over the years to trust my intuition and to never make a choice without allowing myself some non-emotional frontal-lobe thought time.

Executive Function

Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. In my non-soothsaying mind, I’ll never be able to predict the future. But when I give myself enough time to regulate my emotions and home in on my intuition, it’s usually easier to see the several paths ahead of me and, I hope, make the right choice for me. At times the right choice may be to stay up late, research, and plot a course. But at other times, it might mean take a bath, drink some water, and enjoy an early bedtime.

The future can cause a significant amount of fear because it’s unknown. But that’s also the beauty of it. There is no fate-filled plan that will happen no matter what behaviors I partake in. My future is made from what I put into my present. So even though I can’t fast-forward my life and see what the outcome will be, I can rest assured that what I put into it will be what comes out of it.

As Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, is known to have said, “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”

And that’s just it. We must wield weapons of reason to deal with life’s muck. And there is no reason without executive function.

I may not be able to soothsay, but with the proper preparation I can be sure the future won’t disturb me. Whatever it may be.