We may be moving too slowly and allowing the past to catch up on us. Or we may be moving to fast and catching up with the future. There is never a present. And interestingly enough, more has been said about living in the present than anything else. Google it, if you don’t believe me.
The problem of living in the present is that present instantly becomes that past and comes and stands in the future. Speaking in terms of time, before you even realise the present, it’s already the past. That opening paragraph of this post that you read, for example, is in the past. As soon as you finish reading this sentence, it’s in the past and you are already in the future. Life, is too long to live in that instant, fleeting and elusive moment that we call the present.
I often wonder about people who make vague, pseudo-philosophical statements like, “Learn to live in the present.” And then, I am amused by the people who parrot that statement: “I am living in the present,” without even knowing what they mean. What that vague statement really means, is that you are better off if you do not regret some of things you may have done in the past and are also better off, if you do not worry about the future. In other words, don’t dwell in either of the tenses. But they hardly ever say it like that. There is no living in the present. The present is instantly the past. Some of you will call this semantical pedantry; I’ll agree with you in absolute terms, but then we would have missed the point. To excise your past and future from your life, is to deny all emotion and experience.
I wonder why people don’t think of living a good and a full life rather than living a life in some indeterminate decontextualised time slice. A full life is much better. It allows us the experience of the past and the opportunity of the future. Each act, in our present, is up-skilled by our past — for a happier moment, that we will soon experience.
And whether immediate or long-term, the future (that is soon to become your present) is better, when you acknowledge, learn and apply a past experience.