About focusing on the present

Today is the center of attention, tomorrow will not happen the way we want if the work is not done today. Yesterday does not give us anything; today everything is open to be even better again.

Now is powerful, you don’t need to remember it with melancholy, or wait for it anxiously, is just happening. The feeling of no tomorrow or past day is important because when the peak is in the present, is one of the best feelings one can have. Life is full of pauses, waiting places, and reflections; moments where the now is all there is, doesn’t abound. For some people they only understand the enjoyment of living their present life when they are told they are terminally ill, and they have no other choice to live it. Then they discover how great it is to enjoy every minute, not like comparing it with the past, neither by preparing for the next one, just the now, enjoying it fully.

For some, the time for reflection and look for meaning of one’s life is a job for an old age, when the choices and possibilities of taking a path are more limited, and pretty much everything one could do has been done already. For others, you can be conscious even when enjoying the present life at the fullest, conscious that time doesn’t come back and need to give yourself at your best in everything you do. In my experience, is difficult to reflect when you are immersed so thoroughly in an activity, sometimes only outsiders can define what you don’t even have time to define, because of being too absorbed in it. And yes, one can be too much into living that forgets to learn from others that have lived in the past, their mistakes and successes. The desire to live at your fullest comes with a natural indifference from what other people might think, or can advice in the same situation. Here full of passion, or some might even say, too much confidence, the hero of the present is battered by failure, making it live fully not only the good side of things, but the harder one as well.

Time is an illusion — I think Einstein said — very true when thinking about our attitude towards living the now, the past, and the future. Our illusion is what we want to be out of it. Some people live always in the past, no matter how young they are, is like they are always longing for something that they had and don’t have anymore and wish to be able to live again. Some other people live their lives towards a future that will someday come, sacrificing themselves with all sorts of restrictions and reductions to be able to live a very limited present, so their future shapes their intended way. Many times when that future comes, they just longed for having done things different when younger, but time is no longer an illusion then. The last group is where time does not matter. The present is everything, and beyond saving some time for a quick rest at night, they squeeze every second of their days living. The rest will sort itself out, and if it doesn’t, at least they gave it the best shot they could at life.

I guess anybody with sufficient experience and time — probably because already in an old age — would advice the young to always stop, reflect, and learn from other people who has travelled the same roads before, seems like the logical thing to do when looking at life from the rear mirror. However logical it might sound, the young lose in the experience of the unknown when living life through the teachings of others. It is not like Icarus flying, testing how close he can get to the sun anymore. In the advice from the elders, there is an implicit limit to experience: “do only as you know somebody else has done, or at least tried”. Some, only provide this advice in hindsight because even when young themselves they never compromised their present from counsel of a distant past. In the young, this time is always different, and even if is not, life loses its adventure sense if all the answers are known beforehand. The reality is that there is a very fine line to benefit from the learning’s of the past, and living chained to the experiences others have had in the past. The present must never be a supporting actor in life’s movie; it needs to be the main character.

Travelling through our limited personal time can be as simple as jumping into the rollercoaster of the present and let things flow by, or harder where we question the rollercoaster design, or just want to have pauses in the experience so we know where we are going, instead of doing the same loops around again and again. Either way, the present, past and future are all mingled, and very relative to each other. We construct the experience we want to believe in our heads, and when that experience is so intense that we are lost in the moment, the true joy of living reveals to ourselves; hence maybe why sometimes giving a little bit more attention to live in the present is more rewarding than any of the other alternatives. Is like nature’s neurochemical reward for being able to feel in control of what we do — although it might be just that, a feeling.

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