The present can be an evasive thing – ever fleeting, and often overlooked. It’s a sad realization, but the truth nonetheless. Many of us spend so much time focused on that which has yet to pass that we often fail to appreciate the moments that are actually passing us by. And we often do so without even realizing it. It’s kind of like sunsets, in a way.
Sunsets can be quite breathtaking. On the perfect evening, one can sometimes be granted the opportunity of admiring the vivid yellows and oranges that spread out across the sky as the sun makes its descent. But how many times do we actually stop and admire those beautiful hues? Surely not as often as we could.
A lot of the time, we regard our present lives in the same way we do those sunsets. We spend so much time absorbed in daily distractions and stresses that those beautiful sunsets go unnoticed. Likewise, we spend so much time thinking of and hoping for the future, that we miss the present as it passes by. I for one have found myself to be guilty of this. I spend so much time wondering what the future holds – hoping that it holds something much brighter and better than my present – that I end up overlooking the now. And, for some reason, I find that the older I get the more my fixation on the future and what it holds worsens.
From very early in my life, perhaps as soon as my teenage years commenced, I’d always been one of those persons constantly looking to the future – wondering, hoping, dreaming, the works. I’d always find myself thinking “In the future, I’m going to be doing this,” or “I’m sure when I’m older I’m going to look like this” and, my all time favorite, “I know I’m not happy now, but I’m sure I will be in the future.” Now, when I think of those things that I used to say to myself, that one cliche quote about happiness being a journey rather than a destination always comes to mind. And I must admit, that though it’s often easy to forget, or to dismiss as just another one of those cliche sayings, it is very much true. And I only just realized that a couple months ago.
I was standing at my door waving goodbye to the gas delivery woman when it dawned upon me that I was actually living in my very own apartment – my first ever apartment. Though I know it may sound silly to some, having my first apartment had been one of those things that younger me was always fixated on.
“I can’t wait till I’m older and happy and have my own place,” was what I would often think to myself. The thought alone was something that would put a slight smile on my face. But the fact that I had actually managed to attain one of those early dreams I had was completely overlooked because I was yet again fixated on the future – what I’d be doing in the future, whether or not I’d be more satisfied than I am now. It’s an awful cycle, really, but becoming more aware of my habit has made it a bit easier for me to embrace my present rather than fixate on my future.
I missed out on appreciating most of the past joys throughout my life because I was too focused on thinking of how my future would look – of how much better it could be than my now. Rather than facing the present, I chose to avoid it through escaping to my thoughts of the later. And what that resulted in is future me longing for the very past that I’d missed out on. Upon realizing this, however, i came to the conclusion that it’s not too late to start appreciating what I have now – to start enjoying the sunsets and the sunrises of today a little more. In fact, its never too late. As long as we draw breath, it is never too late to start appreciating and enjoying our now. And from now on, I’m going to remember to stop, just for a moment, and take in the beauty of sunsets.