Why is this a good thing to try and do? Well for one, living in the past and
rehashing distant memories or even recent ones, keeps you from getting the
most out of life today. Now is where life happens. It’s OK if it’s done in moderation
but reveling in yesterday’s past glories doesn’t do much for an interesting today.
I’ve noticed that recently a bunch of people (those in their 40’s and 50’s) have been
tweaking their Facebook pages and changing their profile pictures to that of when
they were in their teens or twenties. Really? What’s that all about? Most of us have,
well, gotten older and look the part (A little gray, a few extra pounds, a bald spot or
two or whatever). The idea might be to kindle a conversation with old high school and
college friends of “remember when”… I think a longing of when we were young and
“hot” has something to do with that motivation as well. Hey, you’re middle aged,
get over it. If you don’t like the way you look today, do something about it or
at least accept it.
Of course, beating yourself up over less than pleasant events of the past is an even
worse idea. If you can undo any of the negative consequences of past actions then
by all means try and do that but otherwise, you need to give it closure otherwise it
will mess with your present state of mind. Even if you can mitigate some of the
past mistakes, when can you do that? Now and going forward.
As far as the future goes, yes. we have to plan for it, but don’t go totally nuts worrying
about future results otherwise you are going to cause yourself all kinds of stress and
anxiety. So how can we plan for a better or at least a content future without torturing
By living in the present with intent. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t “go with the flow”
when we are actively engaged in doing stuff. We absolutely should a lot of the time. But
when you do that, try and do it with a kind of detachment in that you don’t get all wound up
about where it’s heading (worrying about the short term future) because that’s when you
get out of the moment and into future forecasting which causes anxiety, stress and all that
happy crap. For example, if you’re in the 4th inning of your softball game, just play the damn
game, enjoy the flow and don’t worry about who’s going to win. After all it’s just a game as is
much of life.
So back to living authentically in the present with intent; What does that mean? It means
having somewhat of a clue as to what you want to accomplish. A boat without a rudder floats
aimlessly with no destination. So yeah, you need to have some goals, both short term and long
term. You accomplish those not by constantly dreaming about them, but by doing something
about them. When? Well nowishly. That’s why lists and such do come in handy but again,
don’t be crazy about them. (See prior blog about to do lists).
Anyway, I write about all of this stuff extensively in “The Freedom to Recover”. As usual there
is a paradox or conflict as to whether to “go with the flow or to follow the plan.” The art of life is
figuring out when to do which. The problem with many folks living in an alcoholic haze is that
they “go with the flow” all too often without and goals or intent.