This post is in response to the Post Daily Blog Idea: Pick Your Gadget
When I was young, more accurately younger, I told myself that I would never let myself get absorbed by the past, as many old people do. I’m now 73 and I’m finding avoiding thinking about the past much harder to do than I ever anticipated. I will suddenly remember something that I had never thought of after it happened, maybe 50 or 60 years ago. At least I don’t seem to be burying anything any longer.
When I was young, I fantasized about the future: about what it would be like. If I had a time machine, I would go back and correct all my self-indulgent, erroneous and irrational thinking. But, that is a fantasy, too. It’s an old-age fantasy, but the difference between that and a youthful fantasy is that I know it’s a fantasy. I don’t think that younger people know that most of their fantasies are just that. I certainly didn’t, and the people I knew, even ones in middle age, didn’t know that what they believed would be their future wasn’t going to be their reality.
One can live in the present but still be responsible.
Buddhists advocate only thinking about the present, which is advice I try to follow. I meditate and pray to help myself stay in present time. I’ve read Thich Nhat Hanh and Paramahansa Yoganada. I practice meditative walking whenever I walk any amount of distance, and it helps a lot. However, I don’t see anything wrong in planning for the future, to some degree, like saving for retirement, or starting a college fund for one’s kids. A person can’t plan for the future, if they never allow themselves to think about it and only live day to day in the present. I didn’t save for retirement because I had some kind of fantasy that God would take care of all of that kind of stuff for me. God wants us to do some things for ourselves. God has his plan, but that doesn’t mean that humans don’t have to live up to their human responsibilites.
Living in present time doesn’t mean living like there is no tomorrow.
(This post will undoubtedly be much revised.)