“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” ~Abraham Lincoln
New Year’s Day has struck me as a rather daunting day in the past, one in which I must decide all the good I will do in the upcoming year and set out to take the first of many challenging steps. It has felt much like starting a 10-mile run at a full-on sprint. For some, I realize the first day of the New Year invokes a freeing feeling, leaving the past behind and beginning with a clean slate. Whatever your view may be of this first day of 2010, the quote above from Lincoln helps to put it all in a simpler perspective.
It is true what he says, that life does come at us just one day at a time, and thank goodness for that. Even though there may be a fresh new year ahead, try to focus – just for now – on the bright new day ahead of you. To simplify even more, simply be present in the shiny new moment surrounding you right now.
Time is an elusive and imaginary thief that we dream up and exaggerate to justify why things haven’t gotten done, or why we should be afraid of X,Y and Z, or why things have turned out the way they have. When the reality is that today, this moment, is all we really have control over. No seconds, hours or days of the past or future are ever really in our grasp. We only pretend they are because our egos demand it. They convince us that time protects our sanity, but I have found that the opposite is actually true. The more we attempt to work within the constructs of so-called “time,” the further we tend to travel from sanity, or inner peace.
When we look at time this way, we cannot ignore the essential question: what do we do with the present moment? That is really the only question that matters. As you can tell from the lengthy break since my last blog post, I have chosen to spend my present moments lately enthralled with the wonder of the season, wrapped up in the warm embrace of family and friends and often found with my nose buried deep in deliciously good books. But something struck me tonight in a single, quiet moment as I looked at the flames in our fireplace. The only thing I wanted to do in that moment was write here.
So I set out to do so with immediate fervor, yet it seemed as though every attempt at writing was swindled by computer troubles out of my control. I felt frustration bubbling to the surface, but then in a swift, thoughtless (in a good way) motion, I let myself go in the moment and was swept into my son’s world of play. I trusted that if I wasn’t meant to write in that moment, then I must be meant to do something else, and no matter what it was, I was going to enjoy myself. As pillow fights and tackling sessions and a lively game of toddler Scrabble ensued, I found myself laughing like a child again, enjoying every moment without a single thought of remorse that I wasn’t writing.
Once my playmate was tucked soundly in his bed, I walked into the silence of our living room and knew yet again that the only thing I wanted to do in that moment was write. This time the computer cooperated. Yet, if it had not played out this way, I know I would be enjoying this moment regardless, on this beautiful, clear night of the first day of 2010. After all, it is also the first day of the rest of my life, is it not? How could I want anything more than to enjoy the present moment and simply be.
“Nothing is worth more than this day.“ ~Goethe