The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. ~Buddha
Forever is composed of nows. ~Emily Dickinson
Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee. ~Montaigne
It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis. ~Margaret Bonnano
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present. ~Babatunde Olatunji, a similar version is also attributed to Alice Morse Earle
If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is. ~Author Unknown
Pile up too many tomorrows and you'll find that you've collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays. ~The Music Man
Quotes and attributions found at Quote Garden
|Photo from rgbstock.com|
These quotes all have one thing in common: they urge us to live in the moment. One day at a time. Seize the day!
What they don’t tell us is that living in the present all the time can be detrimental, too. You see, I’m rather an expert at living in the moment, much to my OCD, Type-A, anal-retentive husband’s frustration. I’m his complement. I keep him from getting too stressed out about certain things, and since he’s been in Alcoholics Anonymous, he’s been trying to adopt some of my ways. But I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m glad he hasn’t been able to do it entirely. Not the drinking—he hasn’t had a drop in years. I’m referring to his inability to let his anxiety about the future go.
Strange, right? Well, I have a pretty good reason. Living in the moment causes me to procrastinate. Why do today what can be done right before the deadline? Yes, I procrastinate, and yes, I cut deadlines to the wire. That works for me. Mental blocks seem to melt only under the pressure of “one more hour left.” I’ve tried to do work earlier, but then—oooh, shiny! My life is so much in the present that most events sneak up on me, regardless of my calendar staring at me from the wall.
I’ve talked about hobby ADHD before. This is part of my problem. I get distracted by all the cool new stuff I could be doing, and put off what I should be doing. My one saving grace is that I get things done on time. Mostly. Budgeting is a struggle. If not for my husband, I’m certain creditors would be all over me for late or missed payments. For some reason, billing deadlines filter right out of my brain (unlike other types of deadlines, like when papers were due in school, or when I have to get papers graded to my students; those I remember). A solution I've adopted is using the task reminder in MS Outlook. I have it synced to my phone and iPod (never can have too many bells chirping, right?) and set up the reminders for DAYS in advance. So far, it seems to help.
My point is one of moderation, even with One Day at a Time living. Don't spend too much time in the past or future, but make sure you visit them both. For short durations. This is something I’ve yet to master, but I keep trying. Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it soon.
Do any of you struggle with living too much in the past, future, or moment? How do you handle it?