When we are children, we think that time stands still. As adults, we think it races. What does this mean about how we should organize our lives… should we live for the present or for the future?
Children anticipate the passage of time, looking forward to the end of the day, the end of the week, the next birthday. They play games and sports to while away the time, engaging in idle conversation and waiting for the next life milestone, which seems to come so slowly! I remember the salad days of childhood, when I would go for long walks with my father, walks which seemed to last forever – we’d talk about everything under the sun, jumping from topic to topic as we identified trees, grasses and animal tracks. I realize now how much I loved those hikes – more importantly, I realize now why I loved them.
I love them because the were each full of promise and freedom. I didn’t feel the constraint of time or obligation holding me back, worrying me. All I felt were sunlit paths that meandered through the woods in the Hockley Valley, King Township or Parry Sound. I didn’t worry about the future, I looked forward to it. Now, I realize what I regret about those walks… I now regret the fact that sometimes I was hurried, that I wanted time to go more quickly, that I thought that somehow the present was inferior to a more glorious future. Would that those fleeting moments of impatience were never part of my experience.
Now, as I enter my 40s, I realize how precious every day is. How I should be trying to savour each positive moment and not live in anticipation of a distant future. It’s true that it’s important to plan, but I have learned that once you put the plans in place and structure what you need to in your life, you should put the plan down and pay attention to the present that surrounds you. Otherwise, you will live in the dreamworld of a future that will never come!
So, my advice to you: be strategic, know your limits, plan and then relax and enjoy the journey, day by day, conversation by conversation, friendship by friendship.