What is this fascination we seem to have with the importance of today? Because this particular today is the only today you get, whatever today it happens to be. Over the last month we’ve published two Motivating Moments that called every day a gift and one where we encouraged you to be in the present.
Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present,’” and that’s absolutely correct.
Yesterday? History, gone, out of here! Whether it was a good day or bad, whether you benefited from it or not, it’s not coming back. You will never ever duplicate it, nor can you ever change what happened. It is as firmly etched in history as Omar Khayyam’ words on the wall, “The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.” What’s done is done. Forever.
As firmly entrenched in history is yesterday, tomorrow is shrouded in mystery. We said last week, certainly we need to plan, we need to set goals, and we need to be certain we do the things that will keep us around. We must remember the key word here is “plan.” There are no guarantees that what we want to happen will. Most often they do not. At its best, the future is a compromise between what we want and what we get. At its worst, it is an unknown, unpredictable, uncertain, mysterious void. Motivational speakers are big on creating our own futures. "The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create," so says author and theologian Leonard I. Sweet. Computer wizard and 2003 Turing Award winner Alan Kay proclaims, "The only way you can predict the future is to build it," although you might wonder if he reached into the past and adapted his future words from those of nineteenth century novelist Theodore Hook, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." In truth we cannot build, invent, or create time, and that is the future. Time. A moment of time yet to come but never promised.
Perhaps the most appropriate quote regarding the future comes from self-help expert and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer. "Go for it now. The future is promised to no one." No wait! That’s not the future he is talking about. That’s the present he is taking about. Consider that every second you have not yet lived is in the future, and because the future is promised to no one, then the current moment may well be the last moment you get.
The only thing we can do about the past is to savor our experiences, and the only thing we can do about the future is to prepare for it - often by what we’ve learn from the past. If you allow them to, past and future can collaborate to cause untold anxiety and worry. Did we do good enough, will we be good enough. The only way to not be caught in the “I wish I had” or the “I think I can” roller coaster of inner thought is to not get on board. Enter today with your head held high, your confidence unwavering, and the knowledge that you are in the best place you can be, here right now ready to do good things. And so you will be at every right now that comes.
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present,’” Today is a gift. Unwrap the gift with gratitude. Savor the with delight before it disappears into yesterday. Enjoy your present.