Are you in the present, past or future?

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Jim lives in the present. He’s the one that notices the bands of color in clouds during the sunrise; he finds the horned toad on a rock and the mound of delicate wildflowers on the backside of the tree. He can sit in a chair and soak in the music and have a conversation with a stranger for an hour and be quite content. Next Saturday is far away and next year is inconceivable. Living in the present is a talent he’s mastered and I utterly lack.

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Conversely, I live in my head, planning next month’s weekend, next year’s trip, my next car, the next job, the next decade, and my retirement. I search for future financial opportunities and future dreams of reinvention. Did you know in fifty years they will have the capability to create a new heart for an individual by using DNA and a three-dimensional “printer”? Will my grandchildren live to see age 150? Will my government implant an I.D. chip in my arm for identification and “safety”? Will I have to live in Panama because I will be unable to afford to live in my beloved U.S.A.?

When I’m not thinking about the future, I write, teach, and wonder about the past. I’m researching local history of 1927 to better frame my fictional characters.  At school we are studying the U.S. Civil War. Every year I learn something new. For example, did you know the history surrounding the term “Jayhawks”?

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It’s a nickname given to 1850s guerrilla fighters in Kansas who attempted by force to ensure that the Kansas Territory would be admitted to the Union as a Free State. Part Blue Jay, part Sparrow Hawk, this pesky mythical bird demands attention. By the time the Civil War ended, “Jayhawkers” had become a patriotic symbol for freedom and eventually the mascot for U of K. Read all about the University of Kansas Jayhawk history

Anyway, I’d rather find meaning about the past or the future through books and films. I rarely read a newspaper or watch the news. I’ll wait until it’s past-tense before I consider it. This is a foolish, terrible practice. I rely on Jim and my friends to keep me abreast of what’s going on in the world. Because after I’ve considered the future and the past, there’s little time left for the present; perhaps because the present is a very scary place to be while I find the past familiar and the future fun to speculate. It’s the present that alarms me, and I reckon that’s why I avoid it.

How about you? Do you find you are a person living in the past, present, or future?

28 thoughts on “Are you in the present, past or future?

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  1. The past is my present, from old books and films to photographs, postcards and family history. I wear retro sports apparel and spend my holidays in the timeless tranquility of Lake Como in Italy. Even my blog is 20 years out of date.

    1. Hi Paul! Glad you stopped by :). We share the past, then. I’m dated. The films of today I’ll write about next decade. I’d adopt your tradition and visit Lake Como yesterday, today, or tomorrow 😉

  2. Great question. Certainly, I am ever in the present when at work, somewhat keeping an eye toward the future for ever coming changes. But, when I’m home, and into my mental health ritual of movies, books, and music, the past is where you’ll find me.

  3. I love the past, and easily get immersed in it. Still, I am just as firmly planted in the present. I must get my daily fix of the news in the morning and also get some news updates during the day.

    Past, present and future – it all interests me.

    1. Living in the present is where it’s at Kate. If you can’t appreciate the day, you probably won’t appreciate tomorrow–what a waste! You are fortunate to be programmed in the present. 😉

  4. Interesting post. I live mainly in my head, in the realm of ideas, and much less so in the concrete now. I observe the present but rarely partake of it. I love history, so thank you for drawing my attention to ‘The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction’ and ‘The Girls of Atomic City’. Like you I never read the newspaper or watch the news, believing that most of the news items have been inserted there to serve an undisclosed purpose. Rather than believing this is a “foolish, terrible practice”, I would like to believe it’s a sign of intelligence and discrimination 🙂

    1. Thanks, Malcolm. There’s great value in living in the moment. If I ignore and do nothing the injustices of today, why should I be surprised if they grow out of control? Yet, I’m always in a quandary how to change my world other than protect my corner as best I can and vote. And do good works.

    1. Hi Abbi! It’s easy for me to get wrapped up in a plan of action and wonderment about what my world, my family, myself will be like in the future. I think a fair portion of past-present-future thinking is probably the right balance.

  5. Interesting question Cindy! Hmmm I guess I’m more of a present/future kind of person. I live in the moment and don’t really linger in the past, but I do get bogged down w/ planning for stuff in the near future, so I totally can relate w/ you 😀

    1. Hi Ruth! I would have bet a quarter you were a present person. Your enthusiasm for the film you are watching today is palpable. It’s an endearing quality. If I don’t get the opportunity, have a nice Thanksgiving. Do you like to cook?

      1. Hey sorry I didn’t see your reply before. Ha..ha.. yes I’m a very passionate person and usually if I want something I go for it 😀 Doesn’t always work out well though, but that’s life isn’t it?

        I like cooking but more simple stuff like stir fry or soup, not something so elaborate as cooking Thanksgiving turkey. Thankfully we’re invited to a big dinner at a friend’s aunt’s house so we don’t really have to cook anything. Have a great Thanksgiving too, Cindy!

  6. My Dad is definitely a “live in the moment” type of guy! It’s something I learned from him and am incredibly grateful for (although he’s the master – I still have a lot to learn!).

  7. Excellent question you pose Cindy. I think I tend to live in the past, and arguably too much. I always think back on what could have or might have been. As for my movie watching habits, I am into anything past, current and things coming out in the future. Always good to keep an eye out for everything (as much as possible, anyway).

    One day maybe I’ll find someone who can help me enjoy the present more, but I’m fully on your side with regards to thinking the present times we live in are very very scary. I try not to acknowledge a lot of it right now, but with things like Facebook and all that it’s very hard not to be aware of some of it. :/

    1. Yes, the past is familiar and safe even if the past has its horrendous chapters, like World Wars. Thanks, Tom. Oh, please, won’t you consider today’s post on Ralph Fiennes? You are a movie buff I appreciate.

      1. I do believe I checked that post out as well. It was fantastic. I’m not as big a fan of him as you but I definitely, definitely appreciate what he brings to each production he’s in. I ought to see more of him really.

    1. Yahoo to Amadeus. As far as period pieces go, it’s a toss up between Amadeus and Dangerous Liaisons (oh, I ♥ Pride and Prejudice,2005) Just watched Patton a few weeks ago. George C. Scott was the man!

  8. You and Hubby certainly need each other. *grin* You guys parallel me and mine, too. =) I have to come back to this post. My 2nd grader is learning about the Civil War!!

    Enjoying getting to know you, Cindy.

    Diana

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