Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

Live Today in Reality Not Projected Fantasy

Projection is the main strategy of business all over the world. The stock market shifts high and low based on financial expert projection. Professionally and personally we pile up dreams on what we project could happen if all things remain equal. We wait with grand anticipation for the investment to take hold, the business partner to say yes to a new idea or the person of our dreams accepting a first date offer.

Yet while we wait, expectations creep in. We begin mentally living in a future based on what we expect will happen. Sometimes we get so sure of a favorable outcome we make decisions we shouldn’t make or spend money we don’t have.

What happens when expectations for projected growth, financial or emotional security and personal development aren’t met?  Where do we go from there?

Most likely silent negative messages will creep in confirming we’ve failed ourselves or someone else and lead to mental isolation; a very dark, self-demeaning space. For many people the only consoling options are unhealthy ones, which for me meant too much wine and too little food.

This was the way I cycled through most of my life, making assumptions based on perception.  One of these assumptions was that the pathway to success was to project big and let nothing stand in the way. The “if/then” game was a favored way to fill time. After work I’d settle in on the fluffy white couch in my Southern California condo overlooking the ocean. As the waves crashed on the beach, I’d lift one glass of wine after another pretending I lived in my projected future.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit to the endless morning-after worry associated with those dreamy evenings. I’d envision what might happen to roadblock my projection pathway and in no time I felt sheer panic as my blood ran cold.

The more I projected, the more I expected, the more I expected, the more I’d worry, the more I’d worry, the more I’d self-soothe, the more self-soothe the more I’d self-destruct. I wanted to live my future life so badly I edged out the life I had.

I’ve come a long way from sitting on that couch in Southern California. Over these many years I deeply examined my patterns of behavior and why planning for the future is far better than trying to escape reality by living there.

make a plan

I make plans today based on what I know in the moment ever mindful to the propensity for change.  Flexibility is important because each day offers the opportunity for new ideas, different perspectives and teachable moments. Adjusting to the ever-changing circumstances of life helps limit expectation and keep me grounded in reality.

This is precisely why I plan and don’t project.  I’m not the same as I was yesterday and tomorrow I will be different from today.

So as we wind down the calendar, let’s plan for a wonderful new year not project as though we’re already there.


A Moment to Breathe …

The hope for a better tomorrow keeps us motivated. What do you envision for your future? Do you have plans in place or are you living as if already there? To thoughtfully attain the dreams you have, what action steps will get you there? Sometimes being accountable with others helps to inspire that first important shift forward. Leave me a message here or as a comment when sharing this post.   



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One thought on “Live Today in Reality Not Projected Fantasy

  1. Nice reminder to live each day in the present. One step and one breath
    at a time:)

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