Don’t waste the gift of the ‘present’

The hard drive of my computer crashed last week. In a way, I felt very free. I had no work to do and could sit around all day drinking coffee, with my feet up.
I couldn’t place any orders or do any bookkeeping. I couldn’t do research for a column or write a column. I couldn’t check my e-mail and couldn’t call people because my Rolodex was gone.
And worst of all, I couldn’t play bridge.
When my daughter asked, “What do you have on this weekend?” I replied, “Nothing” for I had also lost my calendar.
The Computer Doctor installed a new hard drive quite promptly. Luckily, he was able to save most of my data, but I had to install all of my programs again.
It took 15 hours to restore everything after the crash, and most of that time was spent waiting.
“Please wait for Microsoft to install Microsoft FrontPage.” “Please wait while Windows configures Microsoft XP Office.” “Please wait for Hewlett Packard to install your HP Scanner.”
Waiting an hour-and-a-half for a download to fix a problem with Microsoft Word. Waiting 15 minutes on the telephone to talk to my e-mail provider and spending another 30 minutes following his instructions.
Come to think about it, last week was a microcosm of life. It seems we spend most of our lives waiting. Waiting in grocery lines, at stop signs, for a tardy friend. Waiting for a casserole to bake. Waiting for a broken bone to heal.
Waiting to become 21 and be fully legal. Waiting for retirement. Waiting for the results of the tests your doctor ordered.
We don’t take kindly to waiting. We’re a very busy people and always in a hurry to get on to the next task or the next meeting. Never satisfied with just living in the now.
And that’s too bad because “to a large degree, our peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment,” says Dr. Richard Carlson is his book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and it’s all small stuff.”
“Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year, and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is where you are—always!
“We allow past problems and future concerns to dominate our present moments so we end up anxious, frustrated, depressed, and hopeless.”
Just imagine how much happier our lives would be if we would be able to take Carlson’s advice and truly enjoy the present.
If you had only one day to live, imagine how you would savour every moment and every event that took place in that day. You wouldn’t have time to worry about the future or regret the past.
No wonder “The Family Circus” creator Bill Keane said, “Yesterday is the past and tomorrow is the future. But today is a gift—which is why they call it the present.”
So keep your attention on what is here and now. Let go of the past with its problems and release the concerns of the future. And always remember to give thanks for the “present” of today.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.

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