When I was a young guy, I remember old guys talking about the past. So many stories. Some fascinating and some on repeat. Now I am getting older I have noticed I can tend to live more in the past too.
I like the wisdom below.
“Those who are young think of the future because they’ve got more of it. Those who are older think more about the past because, for them, there is more of it. But in order to experience life, we have to live each moment. Life has not been happening in the past. That’s memory. Life is not going to happen in the future. That’s planning. The only time we can live is now, this moment, and as absurd as it may seem, we’ve got to learn that. As human beings with life spans of sixty, seventy, or eighty years, we have to learn to actually experience living in the present. When we have learned that, we will have eliminated a great many of our problems.”
Being Nobody, Going Nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist Path . Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.
Here is another example of an older person who’s considered this dilemma.
Here Stephen Batchelor discuss it well. “The best way to know your past is to examine the quality of your present experience, and the most fruitful way to prepare for the future is to consider the quality of what you think, say, and do in response to situations here and now. Awareness of conditionality discloses the existential horizons of our time-bound life on earth. To dwell in the present does not mean enclosing yourself in a punctual now, severed from past and future. It means settling in a lucid equanimity that is as open to your personal and communal history as it is open to the projects that can be actualised in whatever time remains before your death.”
One of my favourite verses in the bible.
Philippians 4:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Living in the present moment and enjoying your life is a goal we should have every morning. Joy is a choice we can make. I often post about letting it all go. The reason I do this is because its working for me and its free.
We don’t have to prisoner of our past mistakes. We don’t have to live in anxiety about our future. We have a choice to release it all and choose joy.