It’s so easy in the fast-paced stress-filled world we live in to fix our thoughts on what we’re looking forward to in the future. In the midst of difficult times, when we’re bored, worn out, or depressed, we look to something or sometime to motivate us to move forward. This is the grass is greener on the other side mentality, only wrapped into a timeline — the timeline of our life. The problem is that this removes us from being fully present, fully aware, and fully appreciative of our life in context. When we numb ourselves to the current moment, we miss out on the deep thoughts, intense emotions, sincere relationships, genuine interactions, exciting experiences, etc.
While there is some importance in looking ahead, planning, goal-setting, working towards a desired end and anticipating a good result, it is important not to lose sight of the present in the process. There’s a parable from the book of virtues by William J. Bennett called “The Magic Thread”. In it, a boy is given a magic thread that allows him to skip into the future at any time. Every time he encounters a difficult situation, he pulls the thread is thrust into the future. As he skips from boy to grown man to old man, he quickly finds that his eagerness to move forward in his life has caused him to miss out on actually living it.
So when you’re in a tough situation, when times are hard or you are down, don’t wish that you could skip ahead to better days. Don’t live constantly looking forward to a holiday or an exciting event. Don’t buy a new car or remodel your home, just so that you have something novel to look forward to and to pull you out of the reality of your situation. Rather, savor every moment; live in the present. Life is short, and it is over in a blink. Don’t you want to look back and say “Wow, I lived a long and full life”? I know I do.
Read an excerpt from “The Magic Thread”