No, There isn’t Always Tomorrow

How many times do you find yourself saying, “There’s always tomorrow”?

“If you’re like most people, you’ll spend most of your time in life passively presuming that you’ll live forever. It is always now. However much you feel you may need to plan for the future, anticipate it, and mitigate risks, the reality of your life is now. What we truly have, is this moment.

(This version gets rid of the news stuff and has more nature and beautiful scenery, if you’re interested in that as a video background instead)

This video really struck a chord with me. If you know the me now, then you’ll know the “me” now is much different than the “me” a few years ago, when I was constantly reactive to things and perpetually in panic and plan mode. Honestly, the old, cynical, negative “me” really feels like I’m some weird, life loving, positive hipster right now. Old Me would have really hated New Me and probably slapped her. But now I understand. I find myself saying “get in the present and pay attention” more than usual. It’s strange, but it’s also refreshing. You never know how much negativity you have until you finally let it go. And sure, like any old habit, it’s work to not slip back out of the present. I still do it, it’s a battle. But I’m winning that battle, and you can too.

“We’re always solving a problem. And it’s possible to simply drop your problem, if only for a moment, and enjoy whatever is true of your life in the present. This is not a matter of new information. Or more information. It requires a change in attitude. It requires a change in the attentiveness that you pay to your experience in the present moment.”

The reality is, we only have the present. We spend so many days wasting away in front of the TV, or splitting our attention between multiple things, often ignoring the actual reality in front of us. We spend time on selfish pursuits. How many times have you sat with someone without constantly checking your phone for email, Twitter, FB, and truly connected with them? Listened? Enjoyed the moment and gave them your full attention? How many times have you been out doing something completely awesome and out of your element, and you’re too preoccupied to realize that you’re actually lucky to be doing the things you’e doing? How many times have you known that you can only do a certain something right now, where you are, and yet you say “there’s always tomorrow”… which turns into never, and a distant memory?

This realization hit me hard when my husband and I came to the west coast. It was like being ejected directly into a painting. Ever since I was little, being near the ocean has always been the one place where I’m completely in the moment. Staring at the beautiful backdrop of mountains and whispering, concealing layers of fog while listening to my beloved sounds of the rolling ocean waves, glimmering like little diamonds, makes me wonder how I ever lived without it for so many years. Or more importantly, how I never took a second to really take everything in around me. Then there’s the sunny blue skies. The view of the city lights after the sun goes down, that can only match the view of the stars when you stare directly up into the night sky. The sunsets. Oh, the sunsets.

I’ve never watched as many sunsets as I have here. And Old Me has never wanted to slap New Me as much as she does right now for writing that paragraph. :)

“The horror, is that we succeed. We manage to never really connect with the present moment and find fulfillment there because we’re continually hoping to become happy in the future. The future never arrives. Even when we think we’re in the present moment, we’re, in very subtle ways, always looking over its shoulder, anticipating what’s coming next.”

I’ve been spending a lot more time doing “one” thing at a time. Meaning, if I’m talking to someone, I’m REALLY talking to them. I’m giving my full attention. If I’m reading, I’m only reading. If I’m watching a movie, I stop multitasking and enjoy it. And it’s hard for someone with attention issues like me, but my head feels much clearer.

So I ask you today: What are you doing to live in the present? How many things have you glossed over this week because you’ve been preoccupied or in your own head? When are you going to start paying attention to the here and now? When will you start giving your 100% focus to things that are important to you, whether that’s work, someone you’re having dinner with, your wife/husband, your book…? Whatever it is at that moment. Because honestly, being completely in the present is where the best stuff happens. Be impulsive and spontaneous, but don’t waste it on something you’re going to half-ass. Because even though everyone says “there’s always tomorrow”… no, there isn’t.

“We all know this epiphany is coming. Don’t you know it’s coming?” 

Categories: Reflection

8 Comments

  • Alan Bleiweiss says:

    Selena,

    You have wisdom beyond your years. Cliche’ as that claim is these days, it’s truth in this case. The more we are willing to be truly “present” in each moment, and the more we practice that notion, the more fulfilled our lives become. Shedding the belief that “if I go fast enough, multi-task enough each moment, my life will be more complete” is a critical change in life perspective.

    And the old you, ready with that slap? Yeah she’s sitting there in her old way of thinking and disbelieving this concept entirely. Yet you’ve “practiced” the “here – now – focus” enough at this point that you have experiential evidence of it’s value/worth no former self belief can dispute.

    My own biggest challenge is still, to this day, finding balance in “the now” and the “yet, but…” thoughts. Funny thing is, the more we grow, the newer and more “this is different so it’s an exception” the “yeah but…” thoughts come at us. It’s really the same in its base “distraction from the now” concept, but with new clothing disguising itself to try and convince me it’s more important than “all that other stuff you dealt with in the past”…

    Like for me – “yeah, but if I could just do these three things at once, that retirement goal will be easier to reach”. Or “yeah, but just because I made more money this year than ever, if I don’t take on that new client, what if THIS is the month that audits dry up forever?”

    Then of course, life happens anyhow. No matter the plans, or the thinking or how much we’ve distracted ourselves. And we just get to layer in new considerations we hadn’t counted on. Which proves that all the worry, all the fretting, all the panic moments and panic thoughts we “planned around” and “prioritized meticulously” end up being worthless anyhow.

    So as it turns out, it really is best to simplify as much as possible, focus more, stress less about the “what if” stuff. Because life is going to happen regardless. And that brings us to the extremely over-used cliche’ about “life’s a journey, not a destination”. :-)

    • Selena says:

      Exactly. Life happens to us over time, but we’re completely in control of how we’re living and thinking in the present. It’s very tough to master that thinking, but once you do, all of your future goals don’t seem as daunting, because the clarity and focus you need to prepare you is happening right now as you shed off the weight of stress and worry.

  • I had several epiphanies :)
    The first one was about my career as an SEO, during the Scary SEO conference in fort lauderdale in 2008: after the conference i realized that i wanted to be a professional SEO consultant and i left my previous job to enter an agency in italy.
    The second one was after i’ve read “4 hours work week” of Timothy harris: i realized i was multitasking too much and i’ve slowly started to focus more and more. It’s hard because i tend to react to every stimulus! Buying headphones and turning down social noise, were definitely a greater improvement. I’ve also realized that i’m not the only person existing in the world, so sometimes i let things go and solve themselves. ;)

    • Selena says:

      I remember when my “SEO epiphany” hit me too. I was doing small consulting for a while was was focused more on copywriting, branding and general social (when social was still fairly new) but I was looking to take a job in investing/finance since that was my focus in college. I was driving from Orlando to Tampa to work for free while I got ready to study for my series 6/7 licenses and whatever else I needed, and just quit point blank and jumped into an SEO analyst job to expand on my consulting I was doing. Best decision I ever made.

      It’s interesting how we all go through these moments in time, where we have certain epiphanies that send us in a completely different direction. And once we step out into the unknown, it tends to end up being better in the long run, and we can’t imagine how we were doing the things we were pre-epiphany. Tim (4 hour work week) just started a TV series that teaches you how to do anything. He’s a pretty good example of someone who pivots to understand what’s needed “right now” vs. thinking about the past and future.

      I hope everything is going well! It’s been a long time since we’ve run into eachother. :)

  • krystianszastok says:

    Wow, that is so true. I love how sometimes something crosses my mind. Like I glimpse upon that concept and I kept on feeling it ‘a little bit’ in the background.
    And today by chance I see this article and it strikes the chord with me so well, thank you for ‘grounding’ that concept for me. I will save that video.

    • Selena says:

      Sometimes the mind works in funny ways, and subliminal feelings (and ones in the back of your mind) can serendipitously lead you to something interesting to read or watch. I’m glad you enjoyed this. :)

  • Bobby says:

    Thanks very inspirational

Leave a Reply