The Past, Present, and Future
Many philosophies try to steer you into being mindful of the present, not to live in the past, or worry about the future. While it’s generally OK to honor the past and plan for the future, you’re supposed to spend only a necessary amount of time to the task… then stop thinking about it, and get back to work.
But it’s never that easy. The past, present, and future are deeply intertwined, and these days the past can haunt. I can only imagine how a future #metoo campaign will attack me over my role in curating a daily joke website that brazenly featured taboo jokes. Fortunately, this ain’t Twitter. No one reads this or even knows who I am, so for now I think I’m pretty safe.
The present is constantly dropping hints that you need to make future plans. That strange hum in your car’s engine is telling you that you will be spending a lot of money soon. The aunt who’s health just took a turn for the worse, is notice that you’re gonna need to have your suit cleaned and pressed for when you’re asked to serve as a pallbearer. Come to think of it, every close person older than you is a funeral you’ll likely be attending.
And what of this thing called future? It’s the one thing that people worry about more than anything else. It’s the only thing we can have any hope of changing but seldom do. It’s going to get here whether you worry about it or not, but if you don’t give it proper consideration, it’s likely to deliver you the “unpleasant” version of itself.
Ultimately it’s up to you to decide how and where to focus your mind. I tend to look at it like driving down a busy road with lots of intersections and stop and go traffic. If you don’t keep moving, everyone will leave you behind. It is dangerous to focus only on the road right in front of you. Keep a broad outlook of what lies ahead and be mindful of your environment. It also helps to know where you’re going, but be prepared to take a few detours.
I admit that it’s not a perfect philosophy, but it’s a starting point for you to find your own path.