But can you?
Feeling: FORWARD & DREAMY
You hear all this hosh tosh about “being in the moment”, “living in the now” and “being present”. All super inspiring, motivating, powerful like to prompt you to think, “Fuck yes, that shall be me!”. But gave you ever actually tried it? By crickey, it’s DIFFICULT.
What with, let’s say attempting, (“doing so” is far too optimistic as yet) to be in the mo has had me realised just how I always rush through my life. I am constantly looking ahead, thinking about what’s next, listing the to-do’s for the next few days and almost regimenting out a good week, if not year, ahead.
I’m never in the present – I’m always at least two to three hours ahead of myself. And I hate it.
It all very well to be organised; to live in this fractured and fragmented world today, to be proactive and productive you need to have at least an element of forward thinking. But – being of the all or nothing brigade – fore planning in the instance of myself has taken over and I find it incredibly difficult to relax and just be.
I said when I was away about my change from saying, “I can’t wait for that” to “I’m looking forward to that”; such phrasing takes down the value of the present and amps up that of the future. What about now? What about fully being here? As I write this I’m forward thinking to when it’s finished. Why can’t I stay with each and every word? (Actually that’s a bit silly; as a writer you’re always thinking of how you’ll perhaps end a piece. But just go with it ok?).
Even now as I am walking to work, in the back of my mind I am planning my break, half hour by half hour. And my day tomorrow. And the weekend. And at the time each of these fore planned things are actually occurring themselves, my mind will be three days deep ahead yet again.
The only time I find myself fully immersed in the moment is whilst under the elixir of sweet, sweet alcohol. And to need substances to do so is not exactly ideal. (Plus I’d rather be in the moment of some more exciting or even day-to-day doing than staggering and screeching about the Masonic).
It’s all very well to share inspiring memes on FB about living each day as if it’s your last, but if you happen to spend all in your bank account on a skydive or helicopter ride or spontaneous trip to Tonga, what happens when you wake up in the morning with no means to foot a return journey nor pay the power bill due at 4pm by way of payment at your local Kiwibank? That’s where the opposite of the whole ideal life living approach comes in; yes, life is short, live it up – but don’t be too “living” my friends, there’s got to be a good portion of sensibility in there too.
Which brings me to another kind of related yet totally disappatate gripe; the telling that you can achieve anything you dream of, then having those aspirations demolished later with labels of “idiot speak”.
Nowadays, it’s a common way for children to be told they can do anything they dream of. “Little Sally, you can be whatever you want to be!”, “Jonny son, whatever you want to do you can,” and, “Susan” – I don’t know where my name choices come from, but just replace with a favoured if need be – “if you want to be a biological scientist changing the world with your theories in cellular rejuvenation, you will do it”. All very well, all inspiring and confidence inducing and what not, but what if Susan can’t quite grasp the concepts of DNA? What if little Jonny decides he wants to be a top mathematician, but can’t do basic multiplication without the aid of a calculator? And what if Sally declares she wants to be an All Black? Of course, such obstacles can be overcome with sheer grit, desire and determination (except perhaps so with Sally, unless she undergoes gender reassignment along with her intense rugby training), but let’s be honest; the vast, sweeping majority of humankind do not actually possess the discipline, determination and actual ability to hurdle over the ozone high barriers.
Yes, maybe Susan could get tutoring and overcome her struggles with science, especially with lots of visualisation and affirmations. But many people just can’t be bothered.
It’s like dreams. Say you want to open a business; while you may find support, often you have to wade through many a doubting counterpart and fear-inducing bank loan decider, who question the money, the feasibility and such lark. Yes, go on, follow those dreams – but it’s noot just as easy as a fist pump and a simple declaration of, “I can do this” one time in the mirror.
It may come across that I am being what we define as a “killjoy”. Well, maybe to a degree I am, but it’s a killjoy with a good bout of realism in there too. Dreams can be conquered, no doubt, but they take a fair amount of hard work and self belief. Alongside telling young kids they can do whatever they want to do or be whatever they want to be, there needs to be at least slight injection of, “But it does take time and hard work”. Dreams are free, but actual achievable ones do take a cost along the way.
I have dreams. Absolute sky high ones. But being an intense fore planner, I have strategies and mapped out journeys in place to get to them.
(But be realistic and have a plan in play).