I may have mentioned once or twice that I am a planner.
I have always been a forward thinking person, always thinking about the future and counting down the days until certain events – whatever those events may be – arrive.
But besides the future, I have always been one to dwell in the past. I try hard to relive moments of pure joy and happiness. These are moments that I try to sear into my memory so that I have something to hold onto in my time of distress.
I also tend to replay moments that aren’t so great. I get fixated on these moments and I play them over and over again, as if I am able to pause the replay and go back to fix whatever I did wrong.
And so, I get caught up in what I may have done wrong and also yearn for what is to come. Between these polar opposites, with one foot stuck in the past and the other foot stuck in the future, I have failed to enjoy what is happening right now.
Like, how am I feeling right now, in this precise moment in time?
The person I am now is different from the person I was, and the person who I will become in the future. But who I am now is exactly who I need to be right now.
It has taken me a long time to just be content with who I am. As a daughter, as a sister, as a student, as a teacher, as a friend, as a single woman.
I used to think that growth and self-love was a lie, but now I realize that the only reason why I felt that way was because I didn’t fully understand what that meant. My past self was a person who was constantly looking for approval, sometimes from the wrong people and things. I was constantly looking ahead to “better days” without fully living out the days that I had in the present.
Because truthfully, who can say if we do have better days to come?
It’s a jarring truth that I had been thinking about more and more recently. Not in a morbid way, but in a sobering way. We have been given one life to live, and each day is a choice to become a better person.
If you fail – which you will – don’t beat yourself up for it. Take a step back, take a breather, and re-evaluate. Own up to your mistakes and make amends. Say you’re sorry more often. Forgive yourself.
Take the time to plan your future, because planning is critical. But give yourself room to breathe and to make mistakes. Leave some space for spontaneity, and colour outside the lines from time to time. Your time will come one day to live out your future.
In the present, enjoy it. Take time to feel your breath as you inhale and exhale. Feel the earth below your feet as you walk. Take every opportunity to smile. Embrace every emotion as they come, and don’t be afraid of them. Be honest with people, and be honest with yourself, because you know yourself best.
We keep telling ourselves that we will live our best selves tomorrow, or another day. We keep telling ourselves that tomorrow is a new day and another opportunity to do great things.
But why not take those opportunities today?
As it says in the lead image, “everything will be alright”.
Further, to quote Master Oogway (from Kung Fu Panda), “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, which is why they call it the present.”
So enjoy the present that you have today. Because it is your present, and yours alone.