Friday, June 3, 2011

Past, Present and Future

As many of you know, my background is that of an English teacher, so the title of this blog sounds like we might be doing some conjugating of verbs!

Actually, conjugate has many meanings, and the one I'll concentrate on is to join together, especially in pairs (or in this case, triplicate!).

Think of your past, present and future like three pieces of paper all tied together with a string running through the middle of each. If you were to pick up one end of the string and dangle it in the air, the papers would not fly away for they are inextricably connected -- one leading to the next. And, although they each have an impact on the other, Marcel Pagnol states, "The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is and the future less resolved than it will be."

When remembering the past, it is easy to block out the negatives and recall only a rosy picture. This might also be how a widow/er remembers his/her late spouse. While it is good to cherish the love you shared with a late mate, it is also beneficial to be realistic about your lives together. This stops the syndrome some widow/ers develop: "My Late Spouse Was A Saint" and can open up the door to accepting new love. It is great to remember the past glowingly but not so much that it is romanticized and makes the present pale in comparison to it.

In the present, it is very easy to get caught up in the minutia of our lives. When there are so many tasks and so little time in which to complete them, one can get overwhelmed or not be able to see the forest for the trees.  You will encounter ups and down in every era of your life. At times, it is important to step back and see the big picture and put current difficulties in perspective so you can figure out the best way to move through them. Always remember that if you are not happy with your present circumstances, YOU are the one with the power to change them.

And then there is the future. If you are always worrying about the future, and this leads to chronic indecision, you can get frozen in place and end up taking no action. This, in turn, can lead to more worry. In essence, you've created a vicious circle that is of no benefit to you. While it is a very good idea to always have an "eye" on the future and take concrete steps towards your goals, it is equally important to live in and enjoy the present moment before it speeds by -- never to be recaptured again.

If there is a message to be gleaned, it is that you cannot change your past, but you certainly can learn from it. Use these hard won lessons to enrich your present experiences. Keep worry in check about the future as you build a foundation upon which to build it in the present.

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