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.