Excerpt from my new book of Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging
Living in the moment is a topic du jour. Popular magazines, psychological research, song lyrics all encourage us to live in the moment. There are mental health benefits and relationship benefits, to say the least. It is a constant struggle to keep the mind trained on the present moment. What are you doing right now? How does your cup of coffee taste? What is the temperature in the room? Can you hear the birds? Is the TV playing in the background? Or are you reading this while projecting into the day, week, or month and creating a to-do list? Is that why we are exhausted all the time? Not only are we living today, but we are taking on the tasks of tomorrow, next week, next year. It makes me tired to think about it. I’m no expert in living in the moment, but I am conscious of not doing it. An ancient Cherokee Proverb says, “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.” The same applies to tomorrow; it is the competitor of today!
I do believe that the older we are, the greater appreciation for the now. When we consider how fast time flies, it alerts us to focus on the present. When you reach 70 years old, you wonder where it all went. Perhaps that is why there is an excessive focus on grandchildren. Grandkids get time and attention. Our kids were lucky to get clean sheets, dinner, and help with their homework! As we count the blessings of aging, we should consider this new capacity to stay present, appreciate the small things, to move slower, and see more clearly. George Bernard Shaw said, “Education is lost on youth.” Much more is lost on youth at a time when it is all about moving ahead at warp speed to get to the pot-of-gold, which turns out to be the now—such irony. Aging is a mysterious blessing.
“Don’t let tomorrow be a competitor of today.” Connie Mason Michaelis