Thursday 5 October 2017

You can't have one moment without another

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about ‘living in the moment’, which seems to be the modern-day mantra. Everywhere you turn there is someone telling you that you need to live in this moment, forget the past and not look too far forward. This moment is the one we have.
To an extent I believe in it, but to be honest, I think original idea of ‘living in the moment’ has probably been corrupted. Instead of appreciating the ‘moment’ or being present in a moment, it’s turned into a self-centred, do what makes you happy now and forget everything else type of thing. Which to be honest, is not a life. Not a life with any real substance anyway. 
I do believe that you need to soak in the now. Appreciate what is going on around you and really relish it. Otherwise, it just becomes a blurry half-hearted memory. On the other hand, I think the past and the future is equally important and can never be discounted. The old saying that life is a tapestry is true, all these ‘moments’ equate to a life and they should be woven together to make the best life possible. How do you do that if you don’t consider what has gone before and what is coming ahead? Which is why I prefer to try and be present in each moment, rather than “live” in the moment (or worship the moment as I feel we’re being asked to do by this trend). 
Rushing into something because it “feels good” or “right” in a moment and not thinking about the past or the future will create a life of half-finished things and regret. It’s not bravery, but foolishness and to an extent cowardice. And how will you create anything of value? 
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I see that to be not just about living in the moment, but it’s the small things that you do over and over that make up your life. You can try and make each “moment” special and glorious and important, even make it special with it's 'simplicity', but god that must be tiring, not to mention disappointing. And just because you don’t appreciate and ‘live’ in every moment doesn’t mean you’re living a lesser life.  I think that it’s perfectly OK at times to appreciate things in hindsight. 
When I look back on my life, some of the most memorable and important moments are the ones that I wished I could fast-forward through. Fortunately (or unfortunately), you don’t have a remote control for life and there are plenty of times we just have to endure. I certainly didn’t ‘live’ in those moments or relish them. Those moments I won’t forget and I’m glad I experienced them because they have made me who I am, how I react to things and I carry them with me. Yes, I will move past them, but you will always carry your history with you. How can you not? So, I internally roll my eyes and tell them to shut up in my head, when I hear someone say let the past go, don’t think of the future only think of the now. 
You can’t change the past, but the past certainly changes you. You can only create your future if you know what you want your future to be. Above all life will throw at you what it will and it will be up to you to play the cards you’re dealt. Build yourself into life, rather than build life around you. 
Pain and sadness are valid emotions, and equally important as joy and happiness. You can’t have joy without sadness, I believe. I also believe that emotions aren’t destinations, but they are simply emotions. I don’t think you aim to be “happy”, happy is just one of the many emotions you feel in life. And if you do everything just to be “happy” then you are setting yourself up for failure. You may work hard to do all the right things to make yourself happy (or what you think will make you happy) but ultimately we have no control over life. What makes a life worth living and a life of substance is your attitude, your values, your principals. The way that you live, the way you treat others and how you do things creates your life, not just the “moments” that you live in. 
I recently read a piece by Brienna West, which really struck a chord. She also believes that life is not about living in the moment but more about creating a legacy through small repeated actions. I will leave you with this quote that I love:
“The truest love is not how you feel, but how you act. If you want a ‘soulmate’ relationship, think of it not as something you find, but a person you choose and then grow with over time. If you want to find your purpose, think of it as whatever you are good enough to keep doing, until you leave a legacythen it is your calling.It is not in premeditation that we decide what the big, important parts of our lives are, it is doing. Particularly, what we do over and over again. Doing defines our lives, our characters, our relationships—everything.” 


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