Sometimes, we spend too much time living life in the future.
Maybe we say:
“I’ll put this relationship on hold while I build up my business, and then I’ll spend more time with my partner.” Or:
“In the next five years I’ll make this amount of money, and then I’ll have really made it.” Or:
“I’ll go on this new diet, become thin, and then all my worries will be over.”
The only problem is that one of two things happen.
Maybe we don’t achieve the thing we set out to do:
there is a downturn in the economy and the business struggles.
Unexpected bills arrive and we’re not able to save the money we needed.
We go off my diet and don’t lose the weight.
Whatever the reason, our plans go awry, and we feel a failure. And also, because the plans didn’t work, it’s obvious that this is the reason we feel so bad. We just need to put more effort into the business, cut back more on expenses, find a better diet – maybe THEN we’ll be happy.
On the other hand, we might end up achieving our plan. We throw ourselves into the business and it’s a great success. We scrimp and save and achieve our monetary target. We starve ourselves and reach the “ideal weight”.
And then maybe we find that our partner hasn’t waited for us, or that we now have no interests in common. Or that we have the amount of money we planned, only now that is not enough. Or even though we’re now skinny, we’re still miserable and isolated.
It is good to plan – it’s good to work hard at something we love to do, to save for the future, to be careful with what we eat. But none of these things will guarantee a happy future.
And there is a simple reason – there are no guarantees.
The future is out there as one of the three elements of time that we experience – past, present and future. We get to control how we are today, but we don’t get to control the future – we only live in the present.
And really living in the present means enjoying what we can do today. Sometimes what we do today is plan for the future, and that is wonderful, so long as we don’t put off our joy till some golden age when our plans come true.
Part of enjoying the now is seeking for our goals – but only part.
Mostly, we need to remember that life is happening today, and we need to enjoy it now – not tomorrow.