"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.
That is why it is called the present."
How often do we catch ourselves looking ahead to something 'better', an event, a holiday, wedding, party, concert, job promotion etc. It can be so easy to wish time away.
All the time.
We wish days, weeks and even months away sometimes. Some of you reading this are already rushing to get to the end of this blog.
Be honest with yourself when answering this question "Did last year feel like the fastest of your entire life so far?"
In almost all cases the answer is a resounding "yes." Of course time itself is a constant, it neither speeds up nor slows down, but it FEELS like it's getting faster year on year. This is actually to do with the brains capacity for memories and experiences. Which explains why when we are young, time can feel slow as we long for adulthood. However (personally for me) since my late teens I have found that year on year time has 'felt' like it has sped up exponentially.
This interactive timeline by Maximilian Kiener explains how your brain’s perception of time might be changing more and more as you get older to make it seem like time is passing by faster than it really is.
We perceive time relative to the “absolute” time we compare it to. In other words, the longer you’re alive, the smaller a year becomes in relation to your entire life as a whole...(if that makes sense!)
So what's my point? My point is we can all so easily rush through our lives. We rush through education to get that job. We save to buy that nice car, that nice house, that more comfortable lifestyle. We wish time away to get a promotion so that we can buy more things to make us happier. We get caught in this perpetual cycle towards the ultimate goal- fulfillment.
Surveys conducted however suggest that individuals at retirement age or indeed even palliative care, reach that stage of life with a feeling of longing. Not for what's ahead, but for what is behind. Indeed it can be said that in life we can often spend so much time looking forward that we miss the moment we're in.
"I was so busy working trying to get that promotion... I never kept in contact with that person.", "I never completed that personal project.", "I never got to watch my kids grow up" etc.
By being mindful of the present, taking time and appreciating and 'living' in the moment we're in, we can start to lead more fulfilling lives which aren't filled with impatience, stress or regret.
A student I was working with recently said to me "Most days I really struggle to get up in the morning and be bothered to do anything."
Why not choose to wake up and think "The day in front of me is the ONLY one I'll have. This day will NEVER come back." Why not choose to make sure it doesn't go to waste, extract, learn, profit in some way from your day. The key word here is 'choice.'
We're only here once. That can be the scariest thought in the world, or it can be the most exciting thought in the world. You have an opportunity every single day to go and do and be whatever it is you want go do or be.
Let's make sure we appreciate now, and live in the moment.
I once read that life should be treated like a piece of music (bear with me).
If the point of music was to get to the end of the piece as fast as we could, well then every song we listen to would be around 10 seconds in length. Of course the point of music isn't to get to the end of it as fast as we can, it is to enjoy and appreciate it as we move through it and appreciate it for what it is.
As it should be with life.
And as you can imagine, this isn't new thinking, it's a concept we've struggled with for millennia.
So go make the most of now.
"Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."
- Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (121AD - 180AD)