As you age, you start to realise there is more of what is behind you and not quite so much left of what is in front. We like to dismiss urban myths here at Of Opinions and today’s busted myth of the day is – you cannot live in the present because there is no such thing as the present. Just think about it. And that moment, in which you thought about it, has already become the past by the time you’re reading this sentence. Human beings cannot be aware, let alone make good use of, the present because the moment you do, it becomes the past. If you plan ahead of time, it becomes that unpredictable thing called the future. Yes, you have your predictive sciences like Meteorology and predictive pseudo-sciences like Astrology, but, we can all agree that the basic principle about the future of anything is, one can’t know what it is. One can imagine what one would like it to be or fear for what one would not like it to be. And, that is where the problem really lies. Not that Mr One or Ms One cannot live in the present but, that Mr One or Ms One believes that there is something fathomable about the future. For, here is myth number two to be busted for the day : the future too is destined for the trashcan like the present because the moment you realise it, it becomes your good friend, the Past.
What is all this wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff I’m talking about? Since when am I an expert on time? I’m not even a physicist, let alone a TimeLord. So, okay, I don’t have the required qualifications. I know you are thinking these are the ramblings of a madwoman who is taking unfair advantage of a free, creative medium like blogging. What if some unsuspecting high-schooler chances upon this and plagiarises it for his Psychics ( Oops, Physics ) paper? All I am saying is, having been around this timey wimey thing for a little over quarter of a century and seeing it’s effects on everything to do with me, all I can be certain of is the past. The present is rubbish. Here I was having a nice cup of tea a few minutes ago. Now, it’s all gone and all I have left is a bitter aftertaste. I just wrote that sentence and now I am nervously rubbing my thumb on my fist thinking if aftertaste is one word or not. If I am living in the present, all I’m really thinking in it is what I did in the past.
Don’t even get me started on the future. Birthdays are supposed to be nice and special, right? Wrong! They are okay, till you’re about five. The novelty wears off after that and everything in general starts to become repetitive. That is why you start developing a consciousness around this time and have more dependable memories. It is all to answer the question, “Is this it?” A birthday is an annual reminder of how you still haven’t made your existence more interesting than what has been given to you. You have cake to drown yourself in sweet misery. You have people around you speaking to you a few pitches higher, saying what should register as nice things about you and all you’re thinking is, “ What’s happening? What is wrong with these people? Why are they acting out of character? She is always sour-faced. Is she smiling at me getting older? Is she mocking me? Why can’t all these people act indifferent towards me like they do the rest of the year?”
That is the thing about getting older. As I said earlier, you have more behind you and less coming towards you. You try more to work out the meaning of what has gone by, and less of what you might do with what’s ahead. The brain understands what it has to do with the past. This happened, then this happened, and then this happened. And I felt this about when this happened and then this this about when then this happened and then this about that next then this that had happened. With the future, it doesn’t know what to do because even if the expectations are as commonplace as any other, the brain doesn’t know how the character, i.e. you, will respond to it. My brain doesn’t know how I will respond to buying an expensive car that maybe in the past of some of the people I know, but cannot completely satisfy the behavioural pattern because I am different from the people I know. Same with marriage, career highs and lows, arthritis etc.
That is why it is obvious and dare I say it, logical, for the future to be based on past behavioural patterns. Because that is what the future will become. And all you have is the past as resource for backing you up against the future. Can you think of all the energy you will save if you stop regretting the past, worrying about the future, and trying to be hyper-aware of the present? You can actually use that energy to go for a run. Or LOL with your neighbourhood kids. Thinking about your time is a waste of your time while doing these, isn’t.