Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Living In The Present

It wasn't exactly at the time I turned 40, but it was the benchmark age that was constantly going through my head. Shortly before the big 4-0, I found that I was falling into the habit of trying to calculate time that had passed by in life and trying to compare that to how much time I thought I had left. This is probably the most futile thing a person can do! I found that some things that happened 20 and even 30 to 35 years ago stood out so vivid as if they'd happened yesterday (a blink of an eye, so to speak) and some things that happened 2, 5 or 10 years ago were a complete blur that seemed in my mind to have occurred in a different lifetime.

I made some pretty crazy revelations like: twice the time had passed between my birth and now than had passed between the end of World War I and my birth; In only 6 or 7 years I would be paying for my children's university education; People I'd gone to school with and grown up with and hadn't seen in years were starting to die off not from car and motorcycle accidents but from terminal diseases and heart attacks, things associated with old age.

It got to me for a while. I was going to die someday and that day was not getting any further away. After I realized that this idea was driving me to the brink of insanity, I decided I needed to do something about it. I centered my attention on my health since it was the one thing that could prolong my demise the longest. I, of course, became vegan and I pushed my physical fitness to levels only comparable to those glorious years in high school (in some areas even beyond that). Most importantly, I convinced myself that living in the past and the future was a waste of time. I began to live in the present.

I've stolen 10 quotes about living in the present. They fall in no particular order, but all inspire me and I hope they will inspire you. In recent years, a little internet invention called Facebook has skewed our perceptions of the past by bringing it all back in a big rush right in our faces. It gives us little triggers that bring back the glory days and make us long for it all to be real again. I still love to use Facebook but I realize that you can't go back and just maybe those glory days were no less glorious than the day you're currently experiencing.

  • If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven't done much today. - author unknown
  • We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time. - Art Buchwald
  • When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. - Alexander Graham Bell
  • If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you're going to be cockeyed today. - author unknown
  • Nothing is worth more than this day. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present. - Babatunde Olatunji
  • I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is. - Alan Watts
  • We are always getting ready to live but never living. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow. - Fulton Oursler
  • One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. - Dale Carnegie

The highlighted quotes are my favourites of the favourites...

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