On Living Out of the Moment

I understand the allure of the phrase “live in the moment.” I really do. It’s supposed to be this big challenge – to rise above all the struggles of life and just focus on exactly what is happening in that second. But I think that’s easy. It’s easy to ignore your real problems and keep enjoying the small things, to refrain from making big decisions. It’s a deferral of reality.

I appreciate the idea pressed upon young people that “you are only young once,” “you only live once,” etc. Obviously it’s true. There are things you can do when you’re young that you may never have the opportunity to pursue again. Your life is flexible. You have fewer real commitments. Your paycheck isn’t immediately partitioned into house payments and baby food. Living a little hard, making some poorly-informed choices, and pushing boundaries are all things you are supposed to do – but you also have to recognize that this idea of living in the moment won’t work forever.

I love having a plan. And maybe this makes me biased in this department, but spontaneity won’t get you everywhere you want to go in life, most likely. Stepping outside of the moment to consider the long term affects of potential choices is going to bring you to a much happier place. There are going to be rough patches – if you were truly living in the moment, you’d make decisions based on what made you happiest right then. I thank god that the people I love in my life are capable of looking beyond each experience and realizing that it is not each individual second that makes me who I am, it’s the addition of all my moments. My dumb, embarrassing, inspired, angry, kind, self-centered, generous, scatter-brained moments – all of them.

Don’t view each moment as a still frame – your life is not an image.


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