“‘Tis the season to be jolly and bright.” That’s how the song goes, I think. Anyway, the holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving right around the corner. The air has turned crisp and the leaves are fast becoming chameleons they are, before taking their final journeys down to an earthen ground, where we can rustle through them with gaiety.
In a few short months Christmas will come; we will listen to carols and read cheerful holiday stories, including the classic about Scrooge. (Yes, Dickens’ story explores the past, present, and future of someone’s life, and will be explained in further detail below). The Christmas spirt awakens a peace within us, whether that means reflecting on the past, exploring opportunities for the future, or living fully in the present…or not.
So why bring up literature from 150 years ago, you may ask?
Because I feel it warrants a further discussion.
Choosing a place to live, to reside, is never easy; it can bring change and new anxieties, but it can also bring you a certain joy and happiness. A large robust city will give you different vibes than living in a tranquil small town in the countryside. Psychologically, the past, present, and future may behave similarly, according to authors Phillip Zimbardo and John Boyd of The Time Paradox.
What lives there: Mistakes, Regrets, Memories (Good/Bad)
The past can weigh you down. Mentally, living in the confides of memories, sometimes retracing missteps and sometimes reliving happier moments in one’s life. I somehow feel gravitated towards it. The amateur historian in me believes this perspective is entirely fine, but I would suggest not dwelling in the past in personal matters.
There’s a famous adage that reads: “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
As a former student of history, I am well aware that I find myself drawn into the past, usually into the more distant past – eras largely forgotten about. Despite not continuing my studies academically, I find time to read books to discover the rich histories from both the movers and shakers and the from the common folk.
What lives there: Hopes, Dreams, Worry, Anxiety
Do you ever find yourself imagining life in the future? Where you may be five or ten years down the road?
I, no doubt, do.
Perhaps that is due to living a creative life. Perhaps it is more a reflection of my hopes and dreams I long to accomplish. Perhaps it comes from a need to compensate my study of history. Or perhaps it is living less of my life in the present.
The questions above, and more, were likely asked by your high school guidance counselors. And while many students could imagine one road to success, my perceptions – and interests – made it difficult to choose between many competing roads. I could envision multiple possibilities, as if they were a stranglehold – something holding me back from fulfilling my full potential. Each of them vying for prominence to define what a successful future may appear to be.
What lives there: Here and Now
Living in the Here and Now means experiencing your life to the fullest: whether that is cherishing moments with close friends and family or exploring the world. However, living the present is equally challenging and rewarding – it’s where we create memories, it’s being present in life – even if life throws you a curveball, you can swing it and, if you’re an optimist, you’ll get a home run.
It’s the here and now.
So I’ll ask, where would you choose to live: in the past, in the present, or in the future?