July 14, 2004
When you are unemployed and job hunting for as long as I have been, it’s so easy to live for the future. My thoughts are full of, “When I get a job, I’ll do this,” “When I get a job, I’ll buy that.” I tend to forget what I already have—time. As I sit here, I am paying somebody else to mow my lawn, again. He won’t do as good a job as I do, but it really doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things. I could do it, and I probably will do it myself next week, but I have other things I would rather do with my time this week.
There is a difference between living for the moment, and living in the moment. I have never lived for the moment—I need the security of planning for the future. I am no good at not thinking about—and worrying about—tomorrow. Perhaps that indicates a lack of faith, or perhaps that indicates maturity and a willingness to face the future. Still, I am trying to learn to live in the moment, because this one moment is all I have, and it will never come around again.
How do I want to remember this moment? Granted, we can’t remember every moment, but what if this moment happens to be one that does stick in my memory? Do I want to remember that I was outside mowing and sweating and dreading the way my hands would be aching tonight? Or do I want to remember that I was sitting inside working on a web page, listening to the sound of my lawn being mowed without any effort on my part?
I don’t know what the future will hold. So many of my future plans depend on what job I get, so there is really little planning I can do. This is hard for me, because sitting down and making plans has always been my way of clearing my mind and dealing with stress. It’s too easy for me to obsess about the future, so right now I have a mission to teach myself to live in the moment. Or, as I think of it, to live in the now. I can’t do anything about tomorrow, but what can I do right now?
So, what has that done for me? A lot. I’ve been making time to curl up with a book every afternoon and sit in my swing every evening. I’ve been playing with my web sites, doing things I’ve been wanting to do “someday.” I’ve even started on a project that I work on now and then that will eventually lead to me tearing out my despised carpet and fixing up the nice linoleum underneath. When? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. So long as I keep making progress, it will get done.
If I can learn this lesson—to live in the now—then perhaps once I get a job I will manage my time so I won’t be so resentful of giving up a third of my life just to make a living. But that’s a thought for later. Right now I have to go read a book.