I’ve covered this topic more than once.
And I’ll probably cover it more in the future. It’s so simple to understand, but clearly such a challenge to learn and remember. The lesson will stick eventually, I hope!
I went out to dinner last night and saw this cool/simple mural, behind a dumpster of all places. I love the beach and I love the ocean as a metaphor for life. Ride the waves, keep your head up, just keep swimming… it goes on and on. What stands out to me at this time in my life is the classic lesson – be present. The ocean is huge and powerful, just like life is. The few times I’ve surfed, I couldn’t worry about what happened in the past or what was coming in the future; I had to really focus on what I was doing right in the current moment, or the power of life could easily take over me.
It doesn’t matter how much I miss or loved the past. Yes, I can honor, cherish, and treasure it, but it is never coming back. It doesn’t matter how much I plan for, overthink, or over-analyze about the future. Whatever is going to happen, is going to happen, with or without my worrying about it. Why waste time in the past or the future? I can’t do anything about them. All I can do is be here NOW. The only thing in the circle of my control is the present moment.
In my final year of grad school, we had teams that worked on projects together for about a month at a time. My first team was awesome: meshed well, learned a lot from each other, and we had fun doing the work at hand. Towards the end of the year with graduation upon us, the team from the first month wanted to reunite just to see each other again and say goodbye. It was SO AWKWARD. Not all reunion visits have to be awkward; maybe some can be joyful and truly a fun time together again. But I remember the learning the lesson that you can’t ever get back what you once had. People change and grow with time; I really hope so, since life would be boring and pointless if I wasn’t growing! But that also means our dynamic with old teammates will also change with time.
I love this quote. Bodies of water resonate with me. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” -Heraclitus. That lesson from my grad school team reminds me of this. We had something awesome while together. But life and time changes everyone and everything, there are no exceptions. We weren’t the same when we reunited, and that’s okay. It is what it is.
All of my grandparents are still thankfully alive and I’ve never had to deal with the death of a close friend or loved one. However, loss in life is a real thing. I’m learning that all I can ever do is be fully present in this current moment, with my whole heart, whole mind, whole being. Life is precious BECAUSE it is fleeting. The things we have are valuable BECAUSE we stand the risk of losing them.
Keep being here for all my “now”s, keep honoring myself and my needs, and I’ll eventually get to my future. “Today” will someday be a faint and distant memory. Make sure it’s a fond one that I can look back on with love. Be here now, because you can never get it back.
How can you be more present today?