Yep. Life is short. And for some of us, including myself, a lot of it has already gone by. Forty-two years, to be exact, and both my parents died at sixty. Not much sand remains in the top of the hour glass, it appears. But, I guess it’s all I’ve got. Today is all I’ve got. And it is slipping by.
Bottom of the Hourglass
What a waste. I could have done so much more. I made so many mistakes, ruined so many relationships, burned so many bridges, and wasted too many opportunities. And now, there isn’t really enough left to do much. All over with a whimper. So, I guess I’ll just ride out what’s left and hope God takes me sooner rather than later. Or just blot out the pain.
What a load of crap.
Not that I haven’t found myself in this situation or frame of mind, but… Total crap.
I lived in Japan for eighteen years. That’s an entire person who can vote. People say, “What an awesome opportunity! That must have been wonderful. How exciting, and how lucky you are to have had such a fantastic experience!” Blah, blah, blah…
I was miserable most of the time.
I was disappointed with my income. I didn’t like people much. I was drinking too much, and I felt like I was falling short of the upbringing my parents had given me. Nothing was enough. My apartment was too small. It wasn’t furnished right. Why does TV suck so bad here? I didn’t feel like I got the respect at work, or the recognition, I deserved. My employer was unreasonable. My wife was never happy and always complaining about something; nothing ever was good enough. *sigh*
“Like it, or leave!!!”
That was the stern challenge I faced inside.
Exactly. Those are my two choices in every situation. Get in the moment, or move on to something else. A or B.
Oh, there’s Choice C — to curl up in the fetal position and wait to die. I could continue drinking (or getting high, if that’s your thing).
So, OK. Maybe all I’ve got is 18 years left. One more life span of a high school graduate. Maybe that’s all the time God has allotted me before I “graduate” this world. Eighteen short years. What’s 18 x 365? And that by 24 hours? Sixty minutes in an hour. What’s that come to?
Oh, shut up already! Just… Stop it.
Look, here it is. All we have is the present moment. Those things in the past only still exist because we keep them alive in our minds with regret, self-pity, resentment, and unresolved grudges. Potential alcoholics and addicts, are you hearing me?
That may sound like some bizarre Zen, yoga, green tea, spiritual hullabaloo, or self-help spin to some. Scoff if you will. I’d rather find peace in the present, because it is real. The only moment that matters is now.
Top of the Hourglass
What about the future?
It’s potential, and nothing more. There are no guarantees. But it will not materialize if I do not take action in the present. The future is a bunch of “now” stacked one on top of another. I’m happier saying that I at least took my shot. The outcome of failure wouldn’t be much worse than the present misery, would it? Start piling up successful minutes and hours and days. Right now!
When I am experiencing joy, doing what I love to do, or have my attention focused on something amazing (or even just “good”), nothing else matters but the present moment. When I am taking on something which challenges me, I am totally involved and nothing else exists. Ever had times like this? The past is gone, and the future hasn’t happened. So enjoy what you have right now. The current moment is what you have, and it is all that is real. You cannot spend the past, and there is no guarantee of the future. So the only question is: What are you doing with the present moment?
That present moment, today, is it. It’s all you’ve got.
It’s decision time.
If there is something you want out of life, you have to take action.
If your reality is that you just want to stop hurting, need a way out of alcoholism or addiction, or perhaps another major life crash, there are people who can and would love to help by showing you what they did. Ask me, I’m one of them, and I know more of us than I can possibly count. We’ve got gobs of collective experience with all sorts of problems… And those experiences are now our greatest assets. Helping others is what we do.
So what are you going to do with that present? Which of the three alternatives will you choose? Without question, you do have to choose. For the over-thinkers and debaters out there, doing nothing is choice #3, the fetal position and death sentence, and this is really not the time to get picky and legalistic. Every moment you do nothing is lost. And if you’re an alcoholic like me, you’re lying in the grave.
That is the question: Are you now ready to take action, and give it all you’ve got? And if you can’t, are you ready to reach out for help putting out the fire? We’re a phone call or a click away.
Now is all you’ve got.
Originally published as guest post to Solutions of North Texas http://sontx.org/categories/blog