Remember when you were a little kid and you were so full of plans you could barely sit still? You could hardly gulp down your dinner you were so looking forward to running across the street to play with your pal Suzie or Joe? How you fell asleep dreaming of being a superhero, the Lone Ranger, Wonder Woman or maybe even Richard Simmons? 😉 You just couldn’t wait to get to tomorrow.
Then what happened? You grew up, right? Suddenly you were living for today. You couldn’t bear thinking past the here and now. Too many things could go wrong, the job sucks, you’re not doing what you want to do, you’re not living your dream…maybe you don’t even think about your dreams that much anymore. And maybe even your dreams have diminished – you no longer dream of making the world your oyster – you’d be happy if you were a couple of payments ahead on the mortgage and if you could go a whole month without car trouble. Sound familiar?
Living life takes so much time and trouble, there is little room for the dreams big or small. You’re stuck. You’re here and that’s pretty much all you can deal with. And maybe you don’t mind too much – you’ve grown up now – the dreams well…they were kidstuff – not realistic – a lot of trouble for too little return. You’ve found a comfortable spot in the present and now take that familiar ride day in and day out.
But you know…I think that’s what’s wrong with most of us. Why we’re so damned tired at the end of the day. Why life’s ups and downs drive us nuts. We’re stuck in the present. We’re neurotic. We obsess, we worry, we fret, we bitch, moan and complain. There isn’t enough time in the day, enough days in the week, enough weeks in the month, enough months in the year to really get to anything done that hasn’t posed itself as some sort of daily emergency.
Tune ups, parent-teacher meetings, grocery shopping, meal cooking, child care, laundry, dental appointments and more eat up the day and keep us stuck. In our heads, in our lists, in our never-ending tedious day to day lives. There’s just nothing left at the end of the day.
But I don’t think it’s supposed to be that way. Seriously, when you think about it, isn’t life really about the future? Isn’t it about the plans we make to conquer this or that? Own this or that? Master this or that? Be this or that? Even if you break it down – why are you working today if not to at least put food on the table tomorrow? Why are you getting up today if you aren’t planning to go from point A to point B as the day progresses? You eat so you’ll be alive tomorrow, you exercise so you can fit into that pair of jeans tomorrow or next week or next month, yes? I think you do. I think you have to. I think that if one doesn’t have the purpose of creating tomorrow there is no today or maybe there is only today.
So I have to disagree with all those nifty greeting cards and posters and cardboard characters in movies that laud the philosophy of living for the moment – live for today – carpe diem and all that crap. If you live for the moment then what happens to you when the moment has passed? Ah…right you go on to the next moment – and that is the future, isn’t it?
By and large, I think that’s what’s been bugging me lately. I’ve been so stuck in the here and now that thinking about tomorrow hasn’t even been an option. So worried about this thing or that thing that even thinking got to be too painful. It’s just been all about getting through the day or the moment. Making it through with minimal damage, injury and disaster. And frankly, that ain’t no way to live – I think it’s a trap. I think that there are people out there who want to convince you and me that living for the moment is all we get. All we’re entitled to.
Now why would someone want that, you’d probably ask. Good question. Simple answer could be power. There are people in the world who want to control things, people, events. Some do it on a grand scale and some on a small scale but they do it. The boss that is hypercritical until you are so apathetic and co-dependent that thinking an original thought much less saying it out loud never happens anymore. The nagging spouse who thinks every creative thing you want to do is stupid or crazy. The friend who tells you to get a grip when you voice one of your whacky ideas. Yeah, they all want you to live in the moment – they want you to stay stuck in each and every moment – because if you don’t why hell you might actually create something – might actually cause some effect on the world. Which of course might give you some control of your own life.
I admit it’s not easy to live for the future. It’s hard work to battle all the resistance and inertia that abounds all around you. Just think back on last week during the ‘holiday’ did you try to get something done? Did it feel like you were dancing in peanut butter? There you go. It’s tough – people get grumpy – you get grumpy but you have to do it. If you don’t the future, just happens to you and when that happens it’s never a future of your making – it is the future that has been made for you.
Personally, I prefer to make my own. So, I’m going to give that a whirl. I’ll probably fall flat on my face because between you and me I’ve been at this a long time – but if I’m going to fall flat on my face I want to be the one who put me there. Wish me luck.
17 thoughts on “Live for the Moment?”
Hi Writer Chick,
I hear ya. Been there. Hell, I am there.
Want a total mind (and spirit) trip? Read “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle.
It’s not what you’re thinking. It’s an easy read. The ideas in it blew me away.
Hi Chris! Nice to see you here. It’s nice to know somebody seems to know what I’m talking about – sometimes I wonder if I’m just a baglady in disguise, substituting the blog for a shopping cart and muttering to myself. 😉
I’ll look into the book – thanks for the recommend.
Living life IS a complete pain in the ass!! Dancing in peanut butter is exactly how it feels most of the time (I’ve always said “swimming in peanut butter” but I like dancing much better 😉 )
On the rare occasion I can lift my head out of the “current moment” of extra crunchy, and see the insanity of it all, I realize I’ve been sucked into seeing only what others want me to see. On a grand scale AND in my immediate life. For whatever reason, someone else seems to think I need to be doing what THEY think I should be doing (or thinking or worrying about). Either they think they know what’s best for me, are afraid I might survive better than them, or they can’t solve their own problems and need me to do it for them.
The stinking bitch is that I buy right into it!! If I’m a really good person I’ll make sure no one worries about me, no one feels threatened by me, and no one will have to suffer the consequences of their own decisions. Right?
God, what a life leech that crap is.
You’re right, living for today and today only, is a trap (at least I think so). Keep our attention on the immediate problems of life and we won’t have the breath it takes to look at our futures. We may realize we are spinning our wheels and actually scare someone by stepping out of the peanut butter and doing something big.
And the more I think about it, the more I think doing something big just may make the difference between my next flat tire being more of the same misery or just another pebble on the road to a shit load of fun.
There you go, WC, making me think again. I can’t stinking sleep with you around! 🙂
Sorry for the loss of sleep – join the club. At least we can share the same raft together, eh? LOL.
As usual, you hit the nail on the head again.
Must be why I have a headache. 😉 Thanks, hon.
God, it would have been so much easier if I just had said “I agree!!” 😉
But so much less interesting. 😉
I see it differently. I think society encourages us to live for the future. Why else would we covet health insurance, retirement plans, and mortgages (and marriages?) unless we were living for tomorrow? I think the illusion of security and other future benefits is why many of us tolerate unsatisfying work. On the other hand, a complete lack of maturity may be why some of us don’t.
That said, I have no advice, and probably wouldn’t offer it even if I did because I tend to believe “advice, even from the wise to the wise, is dangerous” and I certainly don’t qualify as wise. I will state that I’ve been at my best, by far, when I was engaged in some project or relationship that was happening then and there. With an eye on the horizon of course.
And that said, I’ll state that nothing ever works out like I think it will.
I apologize if I’ve missed the point. If the post was geared toward folks with emotional ages over 16, I’m certain I did.
Perhaps I am being too obtuse J…I dunno. But my point I guess is it is what we do to ourselves – we concern ourselves into living only for the day and then can’t figure out why nothing changes. Of course, one should be where one is at the moment as opposed to having their head up their ass or in the stars – but not solely – not only. LOL – I doubt I’m clarifying this any. Sorry.
good luck to you sweetie! and to us all!
Thanks Reggie, I have a feeling we’re gonna need it. 😉
I like what J said regarding the illusion of security and other future benefits as integral reasons for slogging through the daily shitstorms of our life. I had to laugh a bit when I read this post as something in my journal wasn’t a bit similar.
A major problem these days (for society in general) is the number of ‘options’ we encounter in one day.
This is a complicated post and one that may take me some serious pondering before I actually know what to say.
Good luck, Annie.
I pray your dreams come true. . .
Right and I contend that the illusion is what convinces we are living for the future but really living only for the day. I don’t know if the options are really options or just a way of distracting people. I mean really what are the many options and are they that different than they were 20 years ago? Sure we have more technology and t hings go faster but are they better? Is it really that we have more choices are just that people get waylayed more because they have been convinced they can have it all without losing anything? Maybe it’s that we don’t make the choice but get lost in them? I dunno.
Thanks Mikey – naturally I’m pulling for you and your dreams too.
I’m just trying to live long enough to start my next career as a grizzled Wal-Mart greeter.
LOL Evyl, well, that’s a future of sorts – watch out for them old ladies with the cat-eye glasses – especially if they have rhinestones. 😉
i think maybe it’s a balance between the two. Sometimes, living just in the “moment” is what you need to do to survive, but in order to flouish you need to also live in the future, but you don’t necessarily have to do them at the same time. Right now my life has kind of sucked for the past 6 months. For the first time in my life I didn’t look forward to X-Mas, even though there were some “good” things in my life too. My job (as is a million other’s) had become extra crunchy stressful back in October, and it doesn’t look to promising for future. I have had health problems (probably due to stress, but i can’t fix them on my own, so i’ve finally given in and made an appt with a doctor) I just decided i’m tired, i’m just so damn tired and i’m tired of being tired and i want to feel good, because i do have future plans and i’m gonna see them come to fruition. So maybe you just gotta make up your mind and “make your own future” like you said, instead of waiting for the future to happen. That’s what i decided to do…..wish me luck.
Yay! Make your own future – like make your own cake, yes? Let me know what the doc says.
I had to look obtuse up and obtuse you ain’t. We’re just looking at it from different perspectives. As wishy-washy as I can be, I may see it exactly as you do tomorrow, or even later today. Now I’ll drop it before I wax New Agey or worse.
Well darlin’ you can wax whatever you want around here – in fact my car could use one. 😉
One thing this old trucker has learned is to look forward to the future while enjoying the now.
I think the fine art of long term planning is lost with most people. I will use my daughters as examples. I love my daughters dearly but they drive me nutso. They have absolutely no idea where they want to be 10 years from now. All they can see is paying the bills from month to month and hoping to take a vacation “sometime”. No plan, no direction, no goals.
They cannot help but live in the past and “the now” becuase they have nothing they are planning for in the future.
All I can say is that I was there for many years. So I’m not in any position to criticize – but I suppose we do hope that the younger ones will learn from our mistakes, don’t we? Fat chance, but we still hope. 😉
squawkboxnoise ….If I may be so bold…..as the wife of a trucker, the daughter-in-law of a trucker, the grand daughter of a trucker and the sister-in-law of a trucker….you guys have so much more time then the ones at home to figure this stuff out! The kids, well they’re just kids, and unfortunately our society has led the kids of today into believing that if they don’t go to college they will amount to nothing (with or without a clear career path firmly in mind).
Enjoy those girls because soon enough, they will be women and hopefully they will get their minds wrapped what direction they really want their lives to take!
In the mean time…YOU concentrate on the road ahead and stay safe, so you’ll be here to see where they windup! (and play Grandpa!)
Sage advice, Billy.
Leave it up to Evyl to post the most honest comment.
I’m laughing my ass off here when I should be pondering your nice response to my comment.
Thanks, Evyl… 😉
We have to laugh, yes?
Oh yes, especially now. See most recent post.
LOL yeah that windshield time gives ya alot of time to think.
My daughters are 17 and 27 respectively btw. I luv em and spend as much time with ’em as they allow. I am blessed in that they are not afraid to talk to their old man about almost everything. Some things are still best left to Mothers.
Ah…Squawk…you’re a good man Charlie Brown!…Do you ever notice that everything (=s*h*i*t) at home seems to hit the fan the moment the wheels start turning? LOL Honestly, we don’t sit and wait for you to get down the road for this stuff to happen!
But back to the point….I too wish my boys had more direction in their lives, but I take heart that they are all basically decent, good, loving and kind kids. My hope is that after watching their father and I suffer all these years to provide for them, they will take a lesson from that and CREATE a better life for themselves, however they choose to do it! We’ve given the kids the amunition to do it, now its up to them to take aim and fire!
doc is a little concerned about my blood pressure, it isn’t “Danger Will Robinson” high, but it is higher than the last time i was there. She prescribed me some happy pills, which i was happy about, and wants to see me back for a follow up in 6 weeks, if my blood pressure has not come down, she will probably put me on blood pressure pills. She was ecstatic about my weight loss and told me to keep going, so that was good. So i got my script filled and could barely wait to pop the first pill…tonight i’m getting together with a friend to hit the gym, we’re getting our “healthy” chinese and than she’s coming back to my house to take in a dress for me for an SCA event that we’re going to tomorrow. (SCA=Re-enactment (middle ages) group)…..
FC, only (8) lbs from CC (Chubby Chick) hehehe
Okay sweets, keep me posted. Wow – you are doing so good on your weight loss program – excellent CC!
I just got back from a funeral for my cousin, who lived young, not long, and died of cancer. I have to say my perspective at the moment filters through that experience as I read your post.
I went back to Ohio where I grew up and saw friends and family I hadn’t seen in years. Their lives were presented to me in nutshells, comparisons of knowing them in my younger years and seeing the paths they have chosen, the abilities they now have, the things they have achieved, and who they have come to be.
While we often feel in our day to day grinds like we are just paddling upstream, in the long view I think we get somewhere. There are times when we tread water, just living for the moment, and other times when we set our sites on goals and forge ahead.
And my cousin? She had a hard life and is now in a better place. Bless her heart. Her life made a difference to me and to others. So who is to say it’s all for nothing? We all make a difference.
You know, based on the comments this post has inspired, I think I may just not be really be communicating the thought correctly. I probably should have written this from a more subjective point of view. It came up because I was reflecting on how stressed I’d been and worried, etc. And I realized because of many factors that I’d been sort of forcing myself to stay glued to just the moment – because it looked like I had no future. Of course that wasn’t true – but that’s where my head was at at the time.
And for the record, I never said anything was for nothing – and of course we all make a difference.
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