In all of the talk about being completely present in the moment of “right now,” I sometimes think that we lose a bit of perspective concerning the future. No, it’s not healthy or productive to focus entirely on the future, but it can be very important to make informed decisions about the present moment by thinking about what’s coming up in the future.
This principle was demonstrated very clearly this past weekend when I
attended the state track meet with our high school team. Having worked
with the team for several months, I was very aware of who had been working
hard for those months and who had been working less hard. At the meet,
it was very clear who had been doing what–and there were some very sad young
people who had had talent enough to make it to state, but who had made
decision after decision during the season not to try to improve their
abilities through hard work. In their series of present-moment
decisions, they had decided to talk to friends, to spend time texting, even to
skip practice to do other things, while others were making the decisions to
work hard in order to try to improve.
In the right now, it can be tempting to put something off in order to
“make the most of this moment.” Sometimes, though, making the most
of this particular moment can involve preparing for future moments–and that
could mean that we decide now to work hard, or even to do something that we
find unpleasant, simply to avoid making future moments completely miserable.
This isn’t at all a sacrifice of the present moment, but a productive use of
it with an eye towards the future.
Living in the moment doesn’t always mean having the most fun possible or
doing only things that we like to do. It means being aware of our lives
and our surroundings–and even our future–and doing what we can to make the
now special and prepare for the future nows.