Lately, I am trying to be more understanding of others and more interested in the world around me. I aim to live more day-by-day and focus less on what is to come and what will be. It all started in my wind symphony rehearsal, when my director, Dr. Harper, gave a piece of life advice.
“Stop trying to live in the future!” he said. “It isn’t possible. You can only live in the present! How many of you have ever experienced the future? Can you feel it now? How about now? You can’t possibly experience the future, it will always be the present!”
It’s an interesting thought to throw at someone during a band rehearsal, but it rings true. The future will always be in the future. Even though this is true, however, many people try to live in the future. Perhaps they sit at work mindlessly doing their job, but trapped in thought of what needs to be cleaned at home, or what to do over the weekend, or a number of other things.
We encounter these “live for tomorrow, the grass is greener on the other side” type people more and more often every day. In fact, maybe you are this type of person. But trying to live in the future is an impossible feat. It stifles, drains, and depresses the mind. Where does living in the future leave time for enjoying the scenic route? How can you dance in the rain if you are always in a hurry? How can you be open to the marvel and surprises of life if you don’t live in the present?
Life is full of surprises, some good and some bad. These changes are inevitable, but to someone caught up in the future, they are heart wrenching, immobilizing, and chaotic. The future is full of expectations, but when the present and reality do not meet those expectations, people become caught in a web—an obscure web of confusion, disillusionment, and disappointment, all things, which life should not be.
Living is not expecting future happenings, or hoping for something better. Living, as previously mentioned, occurs solely in the present. As a matter of fact, the word live comes from the Old English liffian, meaning, “to be, to live, have life; to experience” (Online Etymology Dictionary). If living is to experience, then one must experience the present. Therefore, experiencing life in the present is key to living. But this is easier said than done, the present cannot be experienced until you stop trying to live in the future. Whether you do so or not, though, is something only you can decide.
Harper, Douglas. “Online Etymology Dictionary: Live.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Web. 21 Oct. 2013. .