One of the most overused bits of advice in modern wisdom is: "Live in the moment -- live for now and not yesterday or tomorrow." That's meant to help us keep our heads in the game, as it were; no regrets, no time wasted in attempting to engineer the future in ways in which it was not meant to be engineered. But, in one way, don't you find that we are hard-wired to the now?
In certain situations, this hard-wired nowness becomes really evident.
I looked over at my wife. She was playing Scrabble on her phone, or something, and I had a thought that occurs to me once in awhile: Who the hell is this woman and when, exactly, did my life get attached to hers? I'm glad it did get attached to hers, don't get me wrong...but wasn't I just playing in a sandbox? Wasn't I just thinking thoughts about me and the man I might become and the life I would have as a grownup? Wasn't that just, like, six minutes ago?
The kids are good for this, too. The other night, we were driving home from somewhere. Karen, my wife, was driving. My son said, from the dark back seat: "Dad blahblahblahblah...."
I answered whatever question he asked and sat for a moment before clapping my hands to my face and rubbing my temples. Karen asked, "What was that for?" I replied, in a whispered strain: "That kid in the back seat just called me 'Dad'." She chuckled, well-aware of my point.
The way I see it, we spend ninety-nine percent of our time in the now. We walk around so absorbed in who we are, that when we take stock of who we have become, it can be quite jarring. When we step back into our soul's front room and look out the window, it can be quite disorienting.
Did you ever have this feeling? It's not a regret thing, to me. It's just a kind of...whoa, Nellie thing...like, a not unpleasant hockey-puck-to-the-brow thing...