The Only Moment You’ll Ever Have is This One

You exist three times over — in the past, the present and the future. But really, all are the same.

Emily Wilcox
Mind Cafe
Published in
7 min readApr 9, 2020

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We measure our lives by these three phenomenons — the past, present and future. They infiltrate our every move. We let them define us, dictate us, determine how our life unfolds. And I guess in some ways, that’s their purpose. To tether ourselves to a beginning and provide a place for us to head towards. Journeying from A to Z, with a whole chunk of letters in the middle. the past and the future, with the present crammed inside.

We are born on A. We stride towards Z. We get swallowed whole by the need to get from one to the other as sufficiently and as swiftly as possible. We focus on them so acutely that we fail to see the 24 other Letters of Life unfold around us.

Which is odd, when you think about it. Because, in reality, no matter how caught up we get with the past and the future, it’s only the present that we’ll ever truly know.

The Past

The past is abstract, it exists only as a concept. Because whilst we’re experiencing it, it’s really just the present. It’s only after the present has occurred that it becomes the past. It’s no longer this tangible timeline, but instead, it becomes a token, a memory, a lesson about what was.

And do you know what that means? It means that there is no point getting caught up in it. The past? It’s already happened. It’s history. It’s unchangeable. It’s done and dusted and documented via a sizeable quantity of Snapchats. (No? Just me?)

The past is now a landmark, a monument, a relic, encased in glass and surrounded by red velvet rope, intent on being seen, being scrutinised, being sought after. But it can never again be touched. It is there for observation and admiration, only. Until the very moment that Rich Sanchez materialises outside our doors (maintaining a distance of two metres, of course), sharing a box of 20 nuggets smothered in Szechuan sauce with his ol’ pal The Doctor, who are both, finally, ready to share their time travelling secrets — then it’s important to remember that the past, is the past. It is irreversible.

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Emily Wilcox
Mind Cafe

In a parallel universe I imagine I’m an astro-archaeologer or an orange cat (either way, I’m curled up on the moon) but here, and forever, I’m a storyteller.