It freaks me out to think that tomorrow I'll be 70.
So tonight I rummaged though my aging brain, looking for some (possible) wisdom to share with a (possible) waiting world. I came up with this post that I wrote for my HinesSight blog: "Regret and hope are luxuries for the young."
Hey, at least the title sounds kind of philosophically profound. I readily admit my "live for the moment" advice is cliched. But sometimes cliches are wonderfully true.
Here's an excerpt from the post:
In fact, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that after a certain age, and I feel that I've passed it, both hope for the future and regret about the past are luxuries for the young.
Because most young people have many more years to live. They have plenty of time to learn from their mistakes and to plan for a better future. So it makes sense for their psyche to do the sort of "ego feasting" Pollon speaks of.
What made this relationship fail? How did I end up in such a crappy job? Where do I want to live when I'm tired of this town? Should I have children, and if so, how many? Why doesn't my life seem truly meaningful? How can I make friends with people I really care about? How great will it be after I lose 20 pounds?
There's so many questions. Good questions. Great questions.
Our past and future are filled with them. As Pollon said, it is easy, and often fun, to time travel our way into regrets about the past and hopes for the future. Or other sorts of thoughts about what was and what may come to be.
There's nothing wrong with doing this. But there's a cost.
We can't be here and now when we're in there and then. Now, actually we're always here and now, because there's no other possible place to be. But our present moment attention can be doing the time traveling thing, leaving us less aware of what exists in the reality that's staring right at us, as opposed to a memory of the past or an envisioning of the future.