Presently Speaking

This week I discovered the following quote on Tumblr:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

-Lao Tzu

I think for the most part this is true. Often times, thinking of the past can bring back happy memories, but it can only lead to the knowledge that these memories are just that. They’re in our past and never coming back. The future however can be scary to some, exciting to others and a mix of the two, particularly for me. The problem of course is that thinking of either doesn’t allow you to focus on the present at hand.

Lately (perhaps due in large part to my turning 22 in just a few short weeks) I’ve been thinking a lot on my past. Some of the memories are good, but many of them are pretty depressing. So instead I’ve tried to focus on what lies ahead, which is both exciting and terrifying, and realistically totally unhelpful. Because we can never fully know what’s going to happen tomorrow. When I was sixteen, I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to be at 22. I had this idea in my head that I’d have my life entirely figured out, and I’d be well on my way to a very successful writing career. Only things don’t always work out so perfectly.

The best you can do is live for now. You write, you work, you do what needs to be done, because ultimately the past is the past, and that is where it should stay, you can look back on it with fondness, or mourn the sad times, but obsessing over the things you should have done and should have said, isn’t going to change the past. Believe me this is something I have to remind myself all the time too. As for the future well… if you spend all your time thinking about what should be, you’ll lose sight of what is actually happening around you. It won’t be easy, and like everything it isn’t an overnight change. But it’s a goal worth working towards.

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