Living In The Present
I read a summary the other day that struck a chord about a book called Present Shock – When Everything Happens Now. I’ve already been thinking a great deal about the present versus the future. I spend a great deal of time with my head in the future – scheduling and planning out my life – partly because I have to in order to operate my business efficiently and painlessly, but I noticed that planning and thinking about the future was becoming something of an obsession. So much that I failed to notice the moment – I was constantly thinking what’s next – just trying to get through the drudgery of the present so I could get to the future – where I would be happy. Except I wasn’t happy when the future arrived and became the present.
It was making the pace of my life insane and it meant I missed out or glossed over the small moments that are the fabric of life. It dawned on me a while ago that my obsessive planning and scheming about the future was interfering with my enjoyment of the process of living – the journey. It was making me feel empty. I realized happiness could only be found by living in the present.
Its funny because all this time I thought I was alone in my obsession and emptiness. According to Douglas Rushkoff this is symptomatic of our current state of affairs ie real time technologies like texting, emailing and social networking – we’re always on. He says we can choose to play an eternal game of catch-up or we can live in the present favouring quality over speed.
I’m trying to live in the moment and it feels better – but its tough to do. Where to draw the line – when it comes to planning or immediacy what things are “necessary” – what things are useful and what things are detrimental. Those are probably personal decisions – everyone’s life and tolerances are different.
I’m amazed how quickly life flies past when I’m not watching closely yet somehow at the same time crawls past with respect to my dreams and goals – its strangely ironic. My son keeps growing and changing – saying more and more interesting, amusing things. It happens so quickly, if I’m not paying constant attention I miss out, but I still believe in the importance of dreaming about the future. Dreams drive us forward and keep us growing but they have their place. There has to be a balance between dreaming and living here, now. Its tricky to balance the vigilance of the moment with the desire to progress in life.
Time marches on, even when we’re watching elsewhere.