As I stepped outside this morning to do my morning chores, I noticed how beautiful a day it had already become. It was just another day in my life but some measure, it was also the end of a workweek and I had a moment of “It’s almost the weekend” mentality. I’ll be honest, it’s hard NOT to be excited about having time that is completely MY choosing, but I realized that it was a day that I could rush through or one I could enjoy. How often do I rush through a day to get to my night time activities? How often do you rush through a week to get to weekend activities? The older I get, the more often I consider what the long-term perspective looks like.
In addition to rushing through “right now” moments, I also suffer from procrastination. I’ve had skills or goals for years that I would work on tomorrow, for example, my nice acoustic guitar sits in its case in the basement, after a year of lessons I was still unable to play a whole song. I think to myself, one of these days I’ll pull it out and practice enough to learn a song. I want to write a program, a web app, a mobile app, something that includes writing code. I’ll work on that tomorrow I guess. I’ve wanted to do a world travel family vacation but figured I’d wait till the kids were older. They’re older now… still no plans in sight there. How many more tomorrows are there? When will my kids move out? What will I have done to show for it? But let me pump the brakes, this could quickly turn into “mid-life crisis” territory and that’s not my point. It does no good to dwell on the past, just as it does no good to rush through to tomorrow.
Today, right now, this moment, is an opportunity. Realizing that rushing to tomorrow just wastes today gives you a chance to slow down. Ruminating on missed yesterdays can reinforce that point, but considering those de-prioritized yesterdays can let you reconsider what is really important today as well. I still want to code, I still want to play the guitar, I still want to travel. When my workday is done, I can take the time to work on them, or I can play flip through Imgur or Reddit and pass the time. Both are acceptable, as long as you’re mindful enough to recognize the value of whatever action you’re pursuing right now. By being mindful, you can set priorities for your day, your week or your life.
My challenge to you and myself is to stop thinking about what can happen later, or what you’ve missed. Be present right now, present enough to think about what matters and consider how your actions today will affect your actions tomorrow. I’ll wrap up by leaving a statement from Mr. Thoreau regarding today’s actions. Don’t flip through your phone/tablet/life, “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”