By Wayne Addison
How many times do you hear people say, “Just live one day at a time”?
I actually hear people say it a lot. It’s easy to say, but realistically, it is very hard to do. None of us ever knows when it’s our turn to leave this world. None of us are guaranteed one more day, but we all expect it.
Realistically our own peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment. Regardless of what happened yesterday or two years ago, and what may or may not happen tomorrow or next year, we are always in the present.
We all spend too much time worrying. We allow past problems and future concerns to dominate our present situation, sometimes to the degree that we feel frustrated, depressed and hopeless. We sometimes lose faith in our own ability because of fear we might fail. We sometimes postpone gratification and prolong goals thinking that someday will be better than today.
The problem is, many times the same mental dynamics that urge us to look toward the future repeat, and someday never really happens.
One of John Lennon’s songs says, “Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.”
While we are busy making other plans, our children are busy growing up. Many of our friends and loved ones are dying or moving away. Our bodies get out of shape, and for some reason our hair starts turning gray and we seem to ache a little more.
Our dreams are slipping away. What does this mean? We miss out on life. Life: We only have one try.
I do so many benefit auctions. I have many people want to rehearse what I’m going to do. I always tell them I don’t do that. When I’m selling, it just happens. That made me think that many people live life as if it were a rehearsal for some later date. Realistically, it’s not.
Like I said, none of us is guaranteed that we will be here tomorrow. Right now is the only time we have and the only time we have control over.
My family is in a current battle with cancer. I even have my own cancer-killing costume of camo pants and a black-and-pink-striped shirt. Oh, it looks nice. My wife is sticking her tongue out to cancer. When our attention is in the present moment, we push fear from our minds. Fear is the concern over events that might happen in the future.
When we concentrate on the present moment we are doing that difficult task of living one day at a time. We all have dreams. The one way to make them come true is to have the courage to pursue them. We all need to remember our past.
I love history and love the quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” However, don’t forget to live right now. If you have issues from the past, do what it takes right now to make them better.
I have dealt with many people who have relatives they never speak to. They do it because of something that happened in the past. Remember the Andy Griffith episode with the feud? When Andy tried to get to the bottom of what started the feud, neither family could remember what caused it.
Live life today, because tomorrow it might be too late. Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. What good is it to dream it if you don’t try to live it?
Wayne Addison is chief probation officer for the Hancock County Probation Department. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.