This Is Your Moment

forestYou can’t live in the past. You can’t live in the future. All you have is the present.

These seem like obvious things to say, but they aren’t. If I had a quarter for all the time I waste each day wincing about past mistakes or yearning for future successes, I’d be rich. (Which would give me even more time to wince and yearn, I guess, but wouldn’t accomplish much else.) So we’re supposed to go boldly forth into each moment without wasting thought or breath for the before and after.

And yet, isn’t pursuing a passion all about striving toward the future? Don’t we have to think about it if we’re to be successful?

Yes. And no.

Every time I start a new project, I’m thinking about the end product. The joy of writing a chapter gets lost in dreaming about a published book. Each act of crafty creativity in my attic is subsumed by the idea of starting an art shop. Even the pleasure of chopping vegetables for soup gets pushed to the side in anticipation of the final project. Which amounts to nothing more or less than missing little pieces of my life. Precious pieces, because this time will never come again. Even when I’ve got a goal in mind, I’m learning to content myself with the present experience, and not get caught up in what might be.

This is not unconventional wisdom. Breanna Rose talks on her pretty blog about reminding herself to remember “This is where you are.” Gretchen Rubin loves the last line in Little House on the Prairie: “Now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”

Now can seem pretty prosaic sometimes. Many days all you want is to get through “this moment.” But someday you might look back and realize this was your moment, and you let it pass you by. I don’t want to regret anything, so this is my moment.

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