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Now & Then

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  • Now & Then

    I’ve been trying to maintain a focal balance between what’s going on today, right now, in this moment, and what’ll happen next: where I’d like to be, what I’d prefer to be doing, where I’ll go and what that will be like.

    There’s value to be had in forecasting potential futures. Doing so helps us plan, helps us muscle through momentary difficulties, and can remind us to plant seeds that will benefit later versions of ourselves.

    It’s easy to get stuck in that future-facing mode, though, which limits our capacity to enjoy the moment, or even just to learn from it.

    If we’re not mentally and emotionally present for what’s happening right now, we’re less likely to learn things that might benefit us, later, and if we psychologically leave our bodies when things get difficult or boring or repetitive, we’ll perhaps be less inclined to instigate positive changes, because we never fully experience the now: our current paradigm more theoretical than immersive.

    On a practical level, for me, this has meant trying to be present—even for the tedious moments—and doing my best to appreciate right now for what it is.

    At the same time, I give myself time each day to imagine, forecast, and plan for next steps, figuring out what milestones I’ll use to determine when it’s time to act, what my first steps will be, and how I’ll proceed once the ball is rolling.

    No matter how many habits and routines I have throughout my day, throughout my week, though, this is an ever-shifting thing; the balance is precarious, the weight-distribution uncertain.

    I regularly have to nudge myself back to a more stable mid-point: my mind too much here or too much there, my perspective diminished because of the reflex to either completely ground myself in the tangible now, or to live in the comforting land of Could Be, enjoying the fantasy and novelty, but in doing so reducing my capacity to get there.

    Maintaining this balance is tricky and important even in the most normal and predictable of times, but it’s arguably even more vital when the ground is shifting beneath us, continuously upsetting even the firmest footing and most well-paved paths.

    If you enjoyed this essay, consider supporting my work by buying me a coffee.