George Santayana once wrote, “There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” A statement like this can shake a person.
Have you ever thought about how much time we waste?
How much unhappiness do we bring upon ourselves by worrying about the future? Think about the time we spend reliving the mistakes of the past in our minds.
One of the neatest tricks in the world is to learn to enjoy the present. After all, the present is the only time we will ever own. Distance is no longer a serious obstacle due to modern means of travel. But time remains unconquerable. It cannot be expanded, accumulated, mortgaged, or hastened. It is the one thing entirely beyond man’s control. While time is limited for anyone, generally it is squandered as though there is no end to it.
The man on the commuter train, bored, waiting to get home, then waits for dinner, then waits to go to bed. He spends his time slightly behind reality, waiting for something that’s coming up. While it will keep him going, he never, or seldom, learns to enjoy the time he is using right now. What it takes is an awareness of living. It means that being aware that you are alive at this moment, and that the world and people are compelling enough at all times. We needn’t waste so previous a thing as time in boredom.
If we know where we’re going in the future, we can do our work to the best of our ability, give it everything we have and do not need to worry about the future.
As for not reliving our mistakes of the past, it is the easiest advice to give but probably the most difficult to follow.
Everybody knows it’s entirely useless to relive in our minds the foolish stunts we’ve pulled in the past, but this doesn’t keep us from doing it. According to the experts, the solution is living for the present and enjoying it as much as we can. This does not mean we should not plan for the future. We should! But once we make a plan, work on the past, but don’t stew and fret over it.
All we will ever have is today. Yesterday is gone forever.
If we find it difficult to enjoy the day in which we’re living, we should remember that what we’re waiting for will be made up of the same days we’re getting now.
Frequently, a person who is unhappy by nature will believe that when something happens in the future such as marriage, a better job, more money, or whatever it happens to be, he will suddenly be a happy person. The facts don’t bear that out. If we’re living in the past, worrying, hoping for happiness in the future, the best thing we can do is to ask ourselves, “How am I doing with the days I’m getting right now? How am I doing today?” It is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness. Try that business of being aware of the present and its possibilities, and the chances are you’ll enjoy it.
It is said that in every soul is deposited the germ of a great future. Fine, but our future usually works out to be the result of what we do with right now.