Dear Ms Super Fox

In this very scary Covid time I am troubled about what life is really about. The love of my life is happy to love each moment in nature, live one moment at a time and just enjoy being with me each day. I am trying to let go of my set ideas about what we should be doing, but still fear we should be making specific plans for our life. How do I balance being here in the moment with being cognizant of what we want for our future?

Dear troubled,

I love your self-awareness. You’re troubled about what life is really about. You feel lots of “shoulds” – you’re fearful in this scary time. There’s a lot of anxiety in all that you say, which makes sense, since anxiety is future focused, and the future is so uncertain. You may be trying to make plans for your life in order to self-soothe. If you can picture the future, you can feel more in control. The problem is that we can only control so much.

You’ve said you’re with the love of your life, which suggests that you have some idea of what life is about, even if there’s a lot that’s uncertain. I have a strong suggestion for you, which comes from the beloved and hilarious baseball player Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yes, it sounds impossible, but we are at an absurd time in life. So allow yourself to plan the future, but also embrace the present. It’s not an Either / Or situation; it’s a Both / And kind of time. Your plans may have to change and change again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let yourself think about your future. And thinking about the future doesn’t have to hijack your present either. Again, embrace the future as well as the here-and-now. As the poet Rilke said, “the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.”


Do you have a question for Charlotte? Send it to [email protected] with Dear Therapist in the subject line

Further reading

What is existential therapy?

Practical tips to manage coronavirus anxiety

What we might miss in the search for meaning

How our relationship boundaries define us

How negative self-talk affects our relationships