That stupid cliche is true, you know. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift; that’s why it’s called ‘the present.'”
The moment you’re living right now – eyes glued to a screen, absorbing these words – is all you have, all you can know, all that matters. It’s precious in it’s fleetingness.
But, like most folks of my generation, I forget and jolt myself out of the timeline.
I’m always focused on the next thing. What’s going on tomorrow or next week or next month or next year. I’ve got Big Things! happening, and I can’t wait to get to them. I want everything right now. I finish what I’m doing and throw it in the “done” pile, leaving it in favour of the new.
It’s so much more exciting to focus on the horizon rather than what’s going on at this moment, to heed the siren song of a richer, prettier, happier future.
But the future is just speculation–a wish in calendar form. Things rarely pan out the way we want/expect because we’re guessing, hoping, and counting on our ability to bend reality with our brains.
Truth is, we can only do things in the moment.
Sure, we can make plans, but then a parent gets sick, you lose your job, school starts, the pregnancy test turns blue, the weather clears up. The universe intervenes, we make a different choice, and the plan changes.
It’s now when things happen. This second to second, minute to minute existence. That’s the only time action can occur, the only time you can have a thought or a feeling, the only time you can succeed or fail or eat or sleep or love or create.
My immediate instinct is to fight. I need to know how things will work out! But it’s not actually possible. All I have is now. Leaving now behind trying to snag future assurance only makes me unhappy.
The answer, of course, is to be here now.
Until the day I die.
It’s an unending practice of remembering that you can only be here now. Of being truly present instead of forgetting yesterday because it’s over or scrabbling for control over an unknowable future.
Make plans, dream dreams–but don’t hold them so tightly that you forget to be present.
When you can be here now, that’s when you live. Until then, you’re just wishing on a calendar.
I originally published this post in 2013, and it was removed from the archives in 2014. It’s been refreshed and reshared here for your enjoyment.