Live in the moment. Now this doesn’t mean the “appreciate life, be active, etc” redundant stuff people tell you. This is about perspective and how detached from reality we really are every single day. Think of a student sitting in late detention, his head on the table, the clock somehow moving only a minute and a half when he glances over every “twenty minutes.” They want nothing more to get out of there; their main focus is thirty minutes away. Though having nothing to do is a major part of the boredom and dread of late detention, the distant and ever so inviting future (whatever the scenario may be after detention) is also part of it.
When we know something exciting is in the future, yet we have to wait for it, the time spent waiting can seem dull. Just the same, if you know a dreadful experience is imminent, your time beforehand can take on a dreadful tone. Why does this have to happen though? If you find out your weekend is completely destroyed by a work schedule, sometimes your entire week can be melancholy, can’t it? This is because we’re detached from reality, from what’s important – the present, the now. We let our constant assessment and assumptions about the future shade in our reality – the reality we were assessing in the past. If we’re constantly doing this – are we not wasting our lives away? It’s like if scientists somehow found a bizarre phenomena that our perspective is actually an insanely vivid recollection of a memory 12 hours before. Despite the memories happening, would you not feel cheated out of life?
The saddest part about this way of living (besides the fact that most people do it) is the extent and consistency of it. This doesn’t only apply to vague “dull” and “exciting” scenarios. People can waste their lives away. Say your life goal is to become a famous author, have books published worldwide. Now this goal is going to drive you, motivate you which is good! Motivation is amazing. The only problem is how much you rely, dwell, and focus yourself on that future goal. If you start to feel a little low, assessing the probability of your novel publications and achievements, your whole mentality will change. Without a doubt your ability to write good poetry or prose in the present will be affected by your outlook on the future. Logically, this is INSANE. It is possibly and honestly one of our biggest flaws as human beings. Consider this – how often would you trade a $500 prize for a prize behind a “mystery door” – yeah we’re going there, game show allusions. Consider it; I know I personally would go with the $500 myself. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice what I concretely know for the unknown – the ambiguity that comes with it is too unreliable. It could be anything! THEN WHY ARE WE FORFEITING OUR PRESENT – OUR CONCRETE REALITY – FOR THE UNKNOWN FUTURE?
If you’re patiently (or impatiently) waiting to finally be in a relationship, all that time you spent waiting for one is absolutely wasted. If you end up in a relationship, or publishing your novel, or anything else in life, then yeah the time before seems worth it. But if you don’t, you look back at the time in disgust like you were a fool. How were you a fool? Could you tell the future and your negligence to this power and obliviousness made you waste your time? No you’re a fool for not accepting that no matter how probable something is, the future is still UNKNOWN. Why let specific events (most events are external and out of our control anyway) define your past? That makes no sense. That event only defines that event, and your past defines your past.
If you live in the moment, it’s good to have goals – not so the hard work pays off when you get it in the end, but because of what goals do for you in the PRESENT. If you want to publish that novel and look to the future and think “wow… I’m… I’m probably not going to make it,” even if this is not just a matter of self esteem and you analyze logical probability, then your perspective and mentality on pursuing the goal will change. You can’t deny that you haven’t experienced this – where the uncertain or “improbability” of an outcome lessened your motivation to continue pursuing it. The truth is, no matter how much you analyze it, you can NOT tell the future. It seems the more order and control we have in our lives, the more safe we feel with predicting the future, but external forces are too random. I repeat, we can NOT tell the future. When you say “this probably won’t happen” in a disheartened tone, you can’t know that. What you’re really saying is “I’m not fully using the potential motivation given to me by my goal right now.”
If you live in the very present, in the NOW, you can find even if your goal failed, you have no regrets in your past. All that time wasn’t a waste. Consider if your goal/agenda/expectance of the future did fail, how will your life be spent after that then? (No matter how big or small the event is) Considering how much of your life you wasted on it, you’ll probably spend a considerable amount of time recovering from some “drastic” tragedy. The only tragedy is that you spent so much of my present time thinking of the future. When you come to live in the now you find that the future does. not. matter – it is always the farthest distance away you will ever know, it will always be unknown, and attempts to predict it will be assumptions by default, no matter how much “evidence” you have.
You can be upset over a failed goal (such as having your novel rejected by a publisher) in drastically different ways. In one scenario you’d be upset because in that moment you really wanted to win the publisher over and didn’t. In a much more foolish scenario, you’d be upset because a considerable part of your life “relied” on this moment – so much time was spent dwelling on it that it takes a significant toll on you when it doesn’t follow your plans. Why let your defining moments in life be determined by something under the control of external forces or something uncertain? If you live in the now you may find that by the time you go to a publisher, you’re new current goal is to have your novel spread around the internet on a blog (obviously not as grandiose as a publication but that’s the point.) And while you still may be upset at a rejection, by living in the now you didn’t have a lot relying on that specific moment. Your defining moment came from choices and decisions YOU made by living in reality, in the present. Even if a decision you make in the now is to ignore your goal for a while because of your current emotion – this is GOOD. Why would you force yourself to continue to do something you didn’t feel like doing just because of that one “moment” (it may never even become a moment) in the future?
I’m speaking of careers and ideals of fame because sadly some people are so detached by these dreams. On a more on-an-everyday-basis-note, for many people anticipation for a friend’s party on the weekend will keep their mind busy since the Monday of that week. Now say the party suddenly falls through the day of – would you not be pissed, discouraged to do anything else that night, annoyed? Why is that? It’s not only the actual event that triggered emotion but the realization you wasted your entire week looking forward to this party, it shaded in your perspective and emotions for the week and now your time spent feels wasted – faked – cheated.
Another tragedy – a real shame – is that most people only become aware of their future focused perspective when an event differs from their expected future. We spend countless hours waiting for the future and don’t acknowledge it because of the times when the future is actually consistent with our anticipations. All those days you make it through with the constant though “finish today because tomorrow is BLANK and then BLANK will happen” are wasted. We’re stuck in eternal sleep, almost day dreaming our lives away.
I really have nothing else to add but if I do maybe I’ll add it. Who knows, I can’t possibly tell how I’ll feel about this in the future. I may not even share it with anyone to read, although I do want to at the moment. In the future I may feel completely different. All I know is that in this moment, I feel I explained everything I needed to.
Live in the Now.
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.