Is The Best Yet To Come?

By Minji

“There’s that saying, “the best is yet to come.” On one random early-Winter Thursday morning, over my second cup of coffee, I wonder…really? What does this even mean? I have to think it links to your purpose in life. Whatever your purpose is, whatever you’re living for…is the best of that yet to come like the old saying claims?”

I have a friend who will often share inspirational messages with me. One of the things she loves to say is, “the best is yet to come!” She’s not the first person to say this. Normally, I can appreciate the sentiment with a light heart and see the hope and good wishes embedded within the message. But on one random early-Winter Thursday morning, as I get this text over my second cup of coffee, I wonder…really?

There are a few parts to my question that need some unpacking. First, there’s the question of whether indeed there are better and greater things to come. Then, there’s the question of assuming it’s true, that there are better things to come, whether I want to believe and look forward to something "to come" as I live my “standard Thursday” today. 

The first question includes another question, which is what is “the best” - the best of what?  What is better and greater? We’re not talking about a specific thing. It’s not the best job, it’s not the best meal, it’s not the best house or car…it’s not even the best skin of your life (shocking!). It’s “the best” in life generally, right? What does this even mean? I have to think it links to your purpose in life. Whatever your purpose is, whatever you’re living for…the best of that is yet to come. 

This made me connect back to my core values in life – family, health, and wisdom. I can’t imagine that my family would become “better.” They are whole and perfect as is. My health – just taking science into consideration, don’t think so. No matter how hard I try, as I age, my health will ostensibly get worse, not better. What about wisdom – I could see that. The older I get, the more I read, listen, contemplate, experience…I believe wisdom could get deeper and “better” as we age. Tally of one neutral, one no, and one yes when it comes to answering this question from a core values perspective. 

I want to try answering this question again, but now from a 4-domains of life perspective – family, work, self and community. Family, same answer. Work…I guess so. With time, I’ve been able to be more thoughtful and intentional in my work choices. Self. This one is more complex with multiple dimensions, but I think yes. Although my physical attributes are likely deteriorating, I am becoming wiser and stronger. Lastly community – a yes for this too. I am making an effort to form more intimate connections with meaningful friends and causes. Overall, from the 4-domains perspective, 75% is a yes and 25% neutral.

Based on the analysis above, maybe the best is yet to come. But even so, do I want to live today thinking about that? Even after leaving the 9-to-5 office life behind, I often feel I am still on a general life hamster wheel. Is life a hamster wheel with no end… or should there be a path that leads to “the best”? And even if there is, do I want to try to see it and strive for it, or would I rather put my head down and work on turning the wheel as best I can for today?

As I wrap up these thoughts, my friend writes back, “technically, if the best is always yet to come, you are living the most amazing moment so far right now so you can still fully appreciate the present moment.” That makes some sense but I’m still confused. Maybe the best I can do for today is to analogize life to a long hike – you shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees, but also never lose an opportunity to marvel at a particularly fabulous tree?