When I look back at my happiest memories, it is easy to see that it was moments in my life when I was fully present. Maybe it was the time my mom let me paint a giant tree on the wall of my room, when my dad took me to buy orange sherbet, or the amazing kayaking trip where two deer, a doe and fawn swam across the river just in front of my boat. My point is that I was there, in that place without external aspects stretching me thin so that I was able to fully focus, absorb, and radiate the glory of the moment.
The future is always in route. We often let our perspective get clouded by unruly clamoring in our heads by fears and deadlines. If I let the fear of my payments, health, or loved one lives totally consume me, then not only am I not grounded enough to be there for anyone else, but I forfeit my today in fear. The truth is the practice of planning for the future doesn’t mean we will be totally prepared for every possible outcome. We are not supposed to be. It means we will be in a habit of considering the impacts so we can flex and cope in real time. While the ability to anticipate our required roles in the future is vital to maintaining well-being, we cannot control the outcomes. Even the best constructed plans will have deviations because life has so many variables that there is no way to consider them all. Time is linear, at least for now, but life is not.
A child looks to the future with anticipation because to them, time moves so slowly. This unburdened perspective, free from the emotional scar tissue of life experiences and sidetracking thought processes paint a landscape that their Christmas or their next birthday are centuries away. Our perspective of the passing of time is mired with experiences of missed deadlines, and regrets from lack of foresight and struggles. This conditioning, reinforced with the fear of the unknown future consumes my mind so effectively, that I lose the ability to be present which we have already established is the only times I am genuinely happy. Armed with that knowledge and brought into the light of that understanding, I am provided with a new decision we can make. Do I set my ego aside and honestly search my heart from an outside observer perspective and ask myself if I really have control over these time bombs? I lost a friend with cancer last year that always reminded me that no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Mark Twain was quoted as saying “Ive seen many troubles in my time, only half of which came true.” If I cannot change them, then I need to accept that as beyond my control and let it go to live my life in the present.
As a gay man, I lost many years to the fear of abandonment I would face when I came out. Some of these came true, but others embraced me. I found new relations that offered much more security and trust than I had ever known because none of the ones from my past were honestly provided the ability to know me. If Mark Twain was right, am I really willing to waste all the energy of my remaining days chained to fear of repeating pain from my past? Will I be content repeatedly reliving horrors of events that have not even happened so I won’t be surprised if they do come true? I reject the programming I grew up with. I choose to live today as if it were a giant ripe and juicy peach. I want to take a bite out of it and let it dribble off my chin and let the juices roll down my arms. I want to savor the taste of the sweet nectar within. This is the only today we have. Fill it with future memories of being happy in this moment in as many ways as you can.