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Live in the Now

As we get older life changes and sometimes we have a tendency to look backwards and romanticize the past. But the thing with memory is that we can pick and choose what to remember and what to forget. More often than not, we choose to remember more good than bad.

Time and distance can provide perspective. It can also distort it. How often is it said “Ah, those were the times”?

The truth is, those weren’t the times. They may have been great times, but ultimately, they were simply times and experiences. They were life.

Left unchecked, glorifying the past can be crippling.

I get it, sometimes it’s hard to move beyond what was and think about what is or even what will be.

I think the last great era in rock was the early to mid 90’s. Most rock bands today lack any understanding of fortitude or originality. Is that true? Through my eyes and ears, yea.

I can’t relive the feeling I had when I first heard Pearl Jam any more than I can predict another band will elicit the same response from me. I can only enjoy the feeling I get from listening to them now.

We can’t change what was and we can’t predict what will be. You can only rely on what is.

Obviously, “living in the now” is not a terribly new concept and it’s rooted in virtually every major religion and metaphysical school of thought. Yet, somehow, at some point, we always seem to lose sight of it.

Wayne’s World reference aside, cementing your thinking to only what was prevents you from seeing what is, which in turn prevents you from participating and shaping what will be.

So, how do you push through when you’re at a shitty point in your life? By acknowledging that it’s not your “now”.

That doesn’t mean you stop participating or stop trying to get to what it is you want. It doesn’t mean you resent people who are making the most of their now. It simply means acknowledging nothing more than what it is.

stuckeysThink of it as a Stuckey’s stop on a road trip.

Of course you don’t lie down and say “well this is what it is.” You must still function, work and be present but you don’t need to worry too much about living there.

Christ, can you imagine living at a Stuckey’s?

The idea of “living in the now” is almost entirely reliant upon you and your ability to recognize what it is you’re looking for. It’s not some sort of cosmic or ethereal concept that “just happens”.

Part of finding your “now” is knowing who you are, what you’re looking for and being engaged, moving towards your “now”.

You’ve got to know what it is that you want. What it is you need.

“Living in the now”, or finding your “now”, is most certainly not about making the best of a bad situation. That doesn’t make any sense. Sometimes, things just suck. Eventually, they won’t. You can try to make it better, but odds are it’s still gonna be bad.

It’s simply not your “now”. In those moments, you should open your eyes and look around you, see where you need to move to in order to get closer to living in your “now”.

There are no self-help books or deities that can tell you what your “now” is or what it will be. Certainly, they can provide templates and some moral guidance, and for the truly rudderless, they help. Ultimately, books and Gods can’t do the heavy lifting of figuring all of this out.

True Providence can’t be found in books and can’t be achieved by adhering to some sort of nebulous and archaic idea of virtue.

So, can it be that your “now” has already passed?  Maybe one did, you can very easily have more than one “now”.

How will you know when it is your “now”? There is no universality that can be applied. My now is different from yours because I am not you.

Are you certain there will be a “now” for me? It’s a matter of being open to what is presented to you. It’s a matter of experiencing life, as you understand it and as you want it. If you’re shut off and angry, it’s gonna make it much more challenging.

How will I know when it’s my “now”? There is no way to apply a blanket set of rules. You’ll just know.

While you may consider your day-to-day movements as “living in the now”. If you are anything like me, they’re nothing more than part of the functionality of living, of existing, of getting by. That’s not living.

As necessary as some of those movements may be at this moment, living is more than just breathing and functioning.

Whether they are positive or negative, participating in those day-to-day movements will undoubtedly bring you closer to finding your first “now” or a new one.

Life is short, but it’s longer than we think.

For most of us, life is a hustle. We’ve all got shit to do. And certainly, life was infinitely better when we had less to do or when we were being taken care of or seemingly had our shit together. But why dwell there?

You’ve got to actively make time for, and engage in, the things you need to experience, or to find, your own “now”. You’re always going to have “shit you gotta do” and by only focusing on that you will perpetually delay your ability to find your “now”.

There is a place for reflection, there is a place for memory, there is a place for frustration, there is a place for all of that, but to harbor only those thoughts and energies precludes you from being present. Being present is imperative to living and being able to finding your “now”.

Am I living in my “now”? Nope. But I’m looking for it. I’m present, I’m open and I’m cognizant that it’s pretty much all on me.

beaker__1260546463_7113Despite being the perpetual litmus test for Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker was constantly searching for his “now”.

He even found it from time to time.

But, much like life as a whole, Beaker’s experiences never go as planned. Beaker will eventually find his “now”. Beaker keeps looking. Beaker keeps trying.

We should all be a little more like Beaker.