There is only one important time

It’s so difficult sometimes to stay in the present. The worries of the future and the sadness of the past always are fighting for our attention.
Especially, the worries of the future!
I still remember in the late 1950s when my father had a surprise heart attack. Of course, I went home. But eventually I had to leave.
He was so young and he was such a wonderful person–gentle to the core, always doing for others, always laughing. I couldn’t afford to lose him!
But there I was 2,000 miles away from home, worrying all the time. Every time the phone rang (which was often in a busy parsonage), my chest tightened and panic set in until I ascertained for sure that it was just a local call.
At that time, long distance was expensive and usually reserved for real emergencies. But, unfortunately, all that worrying didn’t help at all. It only reduced the quality of my young life.
And when the call finally came, I dealt with it bravely–flying across the continent again with my husband and our four-month-old daughter.
Once there, I had a satisfying closure on the life of my wonderful friend: my father.
I’m glad to say that I dealt with my father’s death much better than I did with the worrying beforehand. Somehow, I think I learned my lesson.
Of course, I still worry sometimes. But that early experience taught the folly of excessive worry.
Staying in the now is critical. Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy once said, “Remember that there is only one important time and it is now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.
“The most important person is always the person with whom you are, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future?
“The most important pursuit is making that person, the one standing at your side, happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life.”
As Tolstoy reminds us, this particular moment is the only one “over which we have dominion.” It soon will be gone.
Will it be a good memory or a bad one? Will it have had made someone happy?
It’s sobering when you realize how short life really is. Living in the present is a choice we have to make. Staying in the now is hard sometimes, but it is imperative. It is our only choice.
Any other choice robs us of our life energy and our youth.
Louise Hay, in her “I Can Do It” calendar, provides a wonderful affirmation: “The way ahead is clear and free. I give myself permission to move out of the past with gratitude, and into a glorious new day.
“I practice forgiveness daily so that I am free to move beyond the past into the present moment.”
And, as for the future, dream if you will. Set age-appropriate goals and always expect the best. It can happen, you know.
But make sure you are enjoying every contact, every experience, every day along the way.
Always remember, there is only one important time and that is now!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at