May 5, 2009

Past, present and future

Rather than living in the present, I think most people have a habit of focusing more on the past or future. My own habit has been to live more in the past - guilt, regrets, old pain recycled. Like many others this year, my mind has become more focused on the future. Rather than rehashing mistakes of the past, I am stressing out about the unknown of the future.

Those that live mostly in the present are probably happier than than the rest of us, so I'm doing my best to change my ways. A few phrases have come to mind recently.

"I must live above all in the present" -- Henry David Thoreau

"Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday." -- from Baz Luhrmann's song Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)

The next one was passed along by my wife. It was something along the lines of "Worrying about the future is like praying for the worst." Why focus your energy on something that you don't want to happen.

The latest was a from a podcast I listened to today. The podcaster lost his job late last year, launched the podcast and related business recently, and was talking to his brother about how things were going. The podcaster said he feels more confident than ever that he was doing what he was designed to do, and for the day or week he feels fine. It is when he looks a few months down the road that he becomes confused and concerned.

The brother has a son with Cerebral Palsy who has had multiple health issues in his short life. After listening to the podcaster talk about his concerns about the future, and probably drawing on his own experiences with his son, he replied simply that "You can't see past your headlights."

I need to stop focusing so far down the road. I need to stay more in the present so I am ready for those random events on idle Tuesdays.

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