Most of us live our lives constantly chasing after something. Always looking for that next experience. Always preferring the future to the present.
Even now. Right now, reading this article. Are you at peace? Or are you in a hurry to get to the end of it so that you can click that like, check another link, make a phone call, grab something to eat?
When we’re kids we imagine being teenagers. In our early teens we fantasize of high school. Then we can’t wait to get to college. Once there, we want to finish as soon as possible and achieve financial freedom.
Women dream of having children, only to then wait for them to finally grow up and become independent. And of course, there’s the countdown to retirement and “having all the time for ourselves”.
But there comes a point where there are no more tricks up the sleeve, no projections left to be made. When the only thing left is the bitterness of a wasted life.
Well, guess what? I don’t want to be a bitter old man. Rewind!
So what exactly is it that keeps us from living our lives fully, reaching as high and as far as we can? What is it that makes us forget about the “now”?
I think it’s basically two things.
One is staying in situations that go against our hearts. Whether it’s a job that doesn’t fulfil us, or a relationship that we’re not passionate about, or simply living in an environment that doesn’t resonate with us.
Other people might try to convince us how fortunate we are to have all these things, and think we’re not reasonable to want something else. They might even make us feel guilty for “not being grateful”.
Yet this is your life. If you feel stuck or trapped than it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Being responsible and working for a better tomorrow has its place in life. But if you’re not enjoying yourself today, and can’t remember the last time you were, then it’s time to change something.
I’m not talking about being discontent and complaining about how much everything sucks. Bitching our lives away. No, that’s clearly not the way out.
What I am saying is that the very fact that we’re staying in situations which go against what we feel at our core is what’s making us run away from the present moment. We keep postponing our happiness, waiting for the cavalry to arrive, instead of acting now.
Leaving a bad scene is something we owe to ourselves.
The second thing that makes us disconnected from the immanence of the moment is not being able to accept those things that we can't change.
Unfortunately (or not), we aren’t gods that can just put ourselves into any situation that we desire. Our lives have certain limitations, even if only temporarily. And some of what happens to us is bound to be unpleasant.
It’s the resistance to such experiences that prevents us from being totally present. It makes the mind go into an endless spin and the body to become tense. We just want to get out of it as soon as possible, instead of really opening up to it.
Because, as unpleasant as it is, it’s now.
I’m not advocating putting up with crap any longer than absolutely necessary. But as long as the undesired situation persists, we might as well learn to enjoy it. Learn about it. That will actually make us free of it.
Whatever seems to be lacking from our lives, and whatever it is that we want to get away from… If we’re not happy with what we've got today, chances are we won't be happy tomorrow either.
So let’s not be in such a hurry all the time. Let’s have some joy. Let’s dance, sing, smile, tell someone we love them.
All we have is now. All we'll ever have is now.