I've been trying to write a blog post all day.
Actually, to be honest, I've been trying to blog for weeks now. I've considered lots of topics, but nothing has been pulling at me to write it. And so I've been putting it off in favor of other things: watching Netflix, going for walks, practicing the piano, working, hanging out with my family, trying to teach myself to make and stick to a budget. All good things, really. But not this. At times I've even wondered if maybe I'm done blogging, or if I should just take a sabbatical for awhile and come back to this when I'm in a better frame of mind.
I can't say that won't still happen, but I don't think it's happening quite yet. I still like my blog a lot. I just haven't been feeling super inspired to talk about anything.
I think part of that has to do with what I actually want to address in this post: For the past few months, I feel like I've been living too much in the future. I'm so excited about things that are coming up later this year, like moving into my tiny house and paying off loans and going on trips, that I've basically been ignoring my current day-to-day living.
This is probably not a surprise to people who know me well. I tend to live in the future a lot. I like to set goals. I like to make plans. I like thinking about how I could progress and become better. I really like change, and when I can see it coming, it makes me excited.
Those aren't bad qualities. Sometimes they're very good ones. The problem comes when I get so caught up in the future that my current life starts to feel empty by comparison. This is when I start to think things like, well, I'm not that happy now, but I will be soon. I'll be happier just as soon as I get my tiny house towed up here or just as soon as I can go on another trip or just as soon as this work project is complete.
But what about today?
The thing about living in tomorrow is that tomorrow never really comes. Or by the time it does, you're focused on the next thing. The thing that comes after whatever you just accomplished.
I'd rather not wait that long to be happy. And it's not just happiness that I'm talking about. I generally am fairly happy and optimistic, no matter what's going on. What I'm talking about really is more than happiness. It's a sense of peace and wellbeing that comes with knowing my life has purpose, like what I'm doing matters now and will continue to affect me as I move forward.
Those kinds of feelings are what I've really been putting off lately. Living in the future or in tomorrow means I start investing my future plans with that sense of purpose, rather than making my purpose something I can do something about right now. In some ways, it's convenient because it means I get to sit back and twiddle my thumbs while I wait for the future to come. In other ways, it's gutting. It makes me feel like there's no point in even getting out of bed in the morning because today is just one more day of pointless nothingness that needs to be ticked off a calendar before I can get to those better days I know are coming.
That's what living in the future can do to you. That's the really dangerous part about it.
Instead, I'd rather live in today. I don't want to have to wait until my life is perfectly put together before I start enjoying it. Because the truth is, my life is never going to be perfect, so I would be waiting for a really, really long time.
Unfortunately, I'm not as good at living in today as I am at living in the future. Today is messy. It's full of mistakes. I make them all the time. It's also full of other people who I have to interact with, and that can be a struggle for me. Today might be mundane. It might be mediocre. It might have moments of awesomeness, but it might also have moments of sadness, frustration, guilt, annoyance, fatigue, fear, uncertainty.
Today is a little too real for me. Tomorrow is the stuff of fantasies. In today, you're forced to confront reality. In tomorrow, you can be anyone, do anything. In today, you're you. And that you is probably flawed, which is pretty frustrating.
Anyway, I feel like I'm babbling a bit, but I hope you guys get what I'm trying to say. I'm also getting really tired, and that's not helping.
I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to accomplish this whole transition from future to present living. If anyone has ideas on how to do that, I'd be happy to hear them.
Sometimes it helps me to get outside. Nature is fleeting. When you spend time outside on a regular basis, you start to pick up on how quickly things change, especially this time of year. There's so much growth and change that happens in spring: flowers bloom and then vanish quickly; trees bud and then the next time you see them, their buds have changed to full dark leaves. That's part of the reason I take so many pictures when I'm outside. I know that whatever I'm seeing in that moment won't happen quite the same way ever again. There are too many factors at play, like the weather and the light and the time of year. It's like Pocahontas says, "what I like best about rivers is, you can't step in the same river twice."
If I can extend that fleeting feeling from nature into my interactions with people and the tasks I have to accomplish each day, I might start to feel more connected to today.
Another thing I might try to do more of is noticing my present surroundings, including the people and moments that made today special to me. I probably won't share them all on my blog because that would be exhausting and probably not all that interesting to read and would, frankly, belabor the point.
But to conclude this long and rambling post, I'll share a few little things I noticed today that made this day special to me:
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Today I walked into church and one of my good friends was sitting there and so instead of sitting alone, like I normally do, I sat with her. That was nice for me. I don't mind sitting alone (usually I prefer it) but today I felt like company, or at least I felt like having her company.
Today I played the piano and noticed that I'm getting better at it. I'm not very consistent about practicing, so my progress is slow, but it's still happening.
Today I had dinner with my family and it was yummy! The missionaries came over, and we had roast and potatoes and my mom made her famous crescent rolls. There are definitely some benefits to living at home, and this is one of them.
Today I drove through some beautiful green hills down 680 to San Jose for a fireside. The sun was setting and it had finally gotten low enough to break through the hazy cloud barrier that hung around for most of the day. The golden light on the wildflower-covered hills was lovely. I saw a rainbow. I love living here where I do. There's something about this place that just resonates with my soul. I love the Bay Area, and it loves me back.
Today I realized that I need to be better about studying the scriptures and strengthening my spirituality. I've been on auto-pilot a lot lately. I'll read, but I won't really think about what I'm reading. I'll pray but I won't really think about what I'm saying. Somewhere along the way, I stopped talking with God and started talking at Him. I can't imagine that's a very interesting conversation from His perspective.
So there you go. That was my day. It wasn't wasted, and there were good moments in it. I just needed to take the time to notice them. I hope I can keep doing that. Because as much as I love the future, I think I could also learn to love today.