Recently, there was a study done proposing that most people tend to live in the moment, with little worry about past trouble or the future consequences from present actions. Even when shown a timeline of past difficulties, unanticipated bumps that lined the road, or undeniable proof that life was anything but smooth, it was human nature for participants to project positivity. They couldn’t anticipate the pitfalls, only the victories.
We want to believe that there is always a better version of the world waiting for us. We want to trust that the work we do to improve ourselves and our surroundings will lay the foundation for some distant attainment of self-satisfaction, comfort, or achievement. The energy put into the process should be directly related to the spoils gained at the finish line. Well, it’s not.
As we sprint after rabbits like greyhounds in the ring, life is disappearing with each passing lap. Eyes stubbornly fixed on the horizon, we’re stumbling over the sidewalk at our feet. We are forsaking today for tomorrow, while the planet—and its need for speed around the sun—is ignoring our desire for a reduced pace to accomplish these goals.
Life is constantly in flux. The moments we want to hold forever last for flashes. By the time we’re fully appreciating the significance of the situation, it disappears. Single friends start to marry. Sweatpants are replaced by suits. Freedom is limited by families and responsibilities. Stasis is a concept, not a reality.
Embracing each event and living in the present are notions as old as time itself, but when we carefully examine the particular context of that advice, the picture comes into sharper focus. This is more than the normal evolutionary process of aging. A specific feeling and mood are lost with each clock’s round trip. There’s a palpable shift in the dynamic, and that shift can bring about feelings of loss and regret that far outweigh the joy.
So hold tightly to the good stuff when it surfaces. Chances are it will be long gone before you realize it was even there.