One major bad habit that I KNOW I personally have (as an allowably-flawed human being) is constantly living in a time that is NOT right now. There are times that I will put my mind everywhere BUT the present. Today, I want to talk to you about why that sucks – and why you genuinely NEED to embrace the now right now.
Both the Past and the Future is Fantasy
Let me elaborate on that a bit. I am not saying that neither has existed or will come to be… I am NOT saying that. What I am saying is that neither one exists RIGHT NOW. They just don’t. You can argue that until you turn blue in the face. They just don’t.
When you harbor on the past, you’re fixating on something that just doesn’t matter. Not if you don’t want it to. Sure, we all have scars. Sure, we all have achievements. Sure, we all have… a past! But dammit we can’t stay there — it’s gone.
And when you focus solely on the future, you miss out on SO much. Sure, we all have our hopes. Sure, we all have masterfully laid plans. BUT (you thought there was a third “Sure” didn’t you?) — none of us know how much of a future we have (more on this later).
Maybe You’re Running from Something?
Facts: Living your life trapped in either your past or your future is just another form of running away.
(Yes – I said, “Away,” not, “Toward.”)
A cool quote that I came across (that I WILL NOT attribute because it’s from a book that I want to buy some friends) says, “The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present.” Again, I didn’t create that.
Living in a happy idyllic memory distracts you from the effort that you have to put into your current life to make that goodness a reality. Talking about what you’re GOING to do just wastes precious time and energy you could be spending doing whatever it is that you were going to do RIGHT NOW.
Rather than run away from things, face them – right now.
The Past Can’t Be Changed
I am my own toughest audience.
I hold myself to stupidly high personal standards.
I know this about myself.
Obsessing over mistakes that I’ve made in the past, opportunities I haven’t taken, relationships I’ve ruined — this all used to keep me up at night.
But… then I realized (and I work on this LITERALLY every day) — “So what?” What can I do about that?
I don’t have the power to change the past. I don’t have a time machine. I am not God. I don’t have Ashton Kutcher’s powers from The Butterfly Effect (love that movie). None of us do… as far as I know.
If there is something you want to rectify from your past, the best time to try to make amends for that is now. If you’re wanting to learn and grow from who you were in some past experience. Fine. Do that now. The future cannot help you with ANY OF THOSE PURSUITS because it doesn’t exist yet.
The Future Can’t Come Soon Enough
No, seriously — the future can’t come soon enough because 1) You have to go through “now” to get there and 2) You never experience it. The future is a concept that we all have in our minds, but that’s just it – it’s an abstract concept that we never actually see.
We are ALWAYS seeing right now. Five minutes from now – you won’t be in the future, you’ll be in the now. Even if you’re older, guess what? You will NEVER be younger than you are RIGHT NOW!
And what really sucks about it, pulling from my earlier comment, is that you don’t know how much time you or anyone you care about has. So spend that time with them now. Spend that time focusing on YOUR life right now.
The past can’t come back to influence your future. Abstractly? Sure, but I’m not talking about karma here or “comeuppance”. I am literally talking about stuff like…
Imagine all of the money you’ve ever spent in your entire life. I know you don’t know the number – but, try to picture it. Wouldn’t having all of that money at your disposal tomorrow be great? Well, I’m sorry – it’s spent. It is gone. The past kinda’ works like that in relation to what I’m trying to get at with this post.
Do not develop the terrible habit of sincerely letting your past influence your future. Just don’t. BOTH are abstractions. That is not even a case of “the blind leading the blind” – it’s more like the “immaterial leading the non-existent”.
Instead, do what you can now to see a better tomorrow when it finally gets here (if it does).
The Present is Beautiful (and Interesting, too)
Do you want to know the key to a more wonderful and peaceful life? Embrace the now.
Think about it: The only reason you think “right now” sucks (if you do) is because you’re either 1) Comparing it to happier days you remember (from your past) – or – 2) Thinking about something you’re not doing right now that you’d rather be doing instead (which is technically “the future” since it isn’t your “now” and you literally can’t re-live your actual past).
I know this sounds like the hippiest-of-dippiest BS, but trust me when I tell you that there is beauty in every moment that you’re experiencing. There is definite beauty in happiness, but there’s also beauty in sadness and pain. There is beauty in being alive to experience those things (whether you believe me or not). There is beauty in seeing the person you can’t stand or doing something you hate.
Look for it.
It is there.
This isn’t even my overly optimistic outlook shining through here, this is just a fact of life that I have grown to accept: All potential that you will possibly ever develop is rooted in what you do NOW. That is what makes the present so interesting!
The present is LITERALLY the only moment you have and it is ALL-ENCOMPASSING – so why not enjoy it?! EMBRACE IT! You are there because of your past (which once was – oddly enough – your present). And if you’re lucky, you’ll be there in it later, too (that abstract “future” thing I mentioned earlier.
I hope I didn’t come off as rude or negative to you with the all-caps throughout this one, and I definitely hope I don’t sound super preachy. I genuinely just want to try and help anyone reading this have the dopest life they possibly can, and this single primal truth of the universe is vital to pull that off.
Stop putting off your dream(s) until “tomorrow”…
Stop holding yourself back because of some crap in your head from “who gives a damn” ago…
Embrace “the now” right fucking now.
(Written as a love letter to myself.)
Peace, and thanks for reading.
The soundtrack for this post provided by…
All Images © Tithi Luadthong (Shutterstock)