It’s a wonderful life when you live in the present

She was never quite there when you talked with her, it seemed. Always thinking about someone else or someplace else, with only a small piece of her mind focused on you and the present.
The tragedy of it was you knew she would be thinking about you and this situation tomorrow when she was only half present in another moment.
I wanted to tell her, Joan, that you must learn to be present in the present. It’s the only way to enjoy life. To live life to the fullest. And it’s a lesson I learned years ago.
One day, it struck me my life was passing–much too quickly. And what’s more, once gone it would never return. I was saddened to see my mother growing older. But right then and there, I resolved to “enjoy her while she is here and not miss her when she’s gone.”
Admittedly, the last part of that was easier said than done. But it helped because I had truly enjoyed her while she was here.
My work was too demanding at times, and I often felt like copping out. But then it hit me that I wouldn’t be at this job forever. And I decided right then to invest fully in my work–and have fun doing it–so that when it was over, I could move on without a backward glance.
It struck me that my small children were growing up too rapidly. And I instinctively knew it was the time to take off work and go to the lake. It was the time to do craft projects on Saturdays and play games in the evenings.
And then when they would be grown up, I would do the things that had been put aside.
So here I am. The past is exactly that–the past. And today is fully mine. I can do the things I’ve always wanted to do, and so can you. That’s the way it is with life. We must always experience the moment fully.
Dr. Paul Pearsall in his bestseller, “Superimmunity,” reports on Abraham Maslow’s psychology of being. Says Maslow, longing for the past and anticipating the future are never as healthy as living for the now.
Pearsall goes on to say, “Our task is to learn who we are now, not what we were or can be.”
He warns us never to “go past” the people in our present but always to connect. Likewise, we must never “go past” the opportunities of our present but always maximize them.
Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves looking back with regret, second-guessing our actions. And looking wistfully to the future for things to be better than they are now–when all the time the only sure path to a better future is to create a better present.
It is today that matters. This day. If there were no other day in your life, this one day would be enough.
It is yours. You can shape it. And having shaped it as you want it to be, it will always be a part of you. No one can ever take it away from you.
So think about it. Think of the richness you can experience today. Live fully. And then tomorrow do the same. Repeat it again and again. And someday at the end of life, you will say, “What a wonderful life I have had!”
A wonderful life made up of wonderful days.

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