In life, we have only three choices for how we approach it. We can live with our primary focus on the past, the present, or the future. Let’s look at each and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of life-focus:
- Focus on the past – I really enjoy music. In fact, you could probably say that I am a huge music fan. I like to listen to music really at any time. When I do, I tend to like “The Oldies from the 60’s” or, more recently, classic country music from the 1960 to 1980 time period. I also enjoy nostalgia, especially around sports and history. I collect baseball memorabilia and enjoy recalling games and players from the “good old days.” Many individuals I know around my age enjoy looking back to those days. Those days were simpler, quieter, and, possibly, more peaceful. However, there is a danger in over-emphasizing the past. Some individuals continually look back to what they should have done, what they could have done, or what they wish they had done. In fact, many individuals are so enslaved by the past that they have difficulty living in the present.
- Focus on the future – Many individuals have an overwhelming focus in their lives on the future. I believe there are two traps we can encounter when this future-focus becomes excessive:
- You become caught up in the belief that things will get better when… you get out of debt, you finish school, you get your kids out of college, you get that promotion, you pay off your house, you retire, you get beyond your health issue, etc., etc. Some focus so much on how life will be different then, that they fail to live for today.
- The other trap is a fear of the future which brings about worry. Nothing good comes from worry. It cannot change a single situation of our future, yet it can rob us of the joy of today. I heard a quote recently that hits the mark on this:
“Worry is when you use your imagination to create something or a situation you do not want.”
- Focus on today – Yes, today is the only day we are promised. We can plan or hope for tomorrow, but it may not come. We can long for yesterday, but it is gone forever. Today is our only chance to make a difference, to accomplish something of value, or to experience those things around us. Our only focus that matters should be on today… this moment. Certainly, we need to plan for the future. I am not suggesting otherwise. However, I do believe that planning and obsessing are completely different things. We should plan for the future, but live for today.
The bottom line for today is this… We need to live in the moment we have right now. We need to stop and smell the roses. We need to slow down enough to enjoy the good things happening all around us. We should dance one more dance. We can’t change what happened in the past, we must not worry about the future, so all we have left is to live in this moment. Let’s give it a try today.
Have an awesome day! And, find something good today that you might not have seen yesterday.