“‘I wish we could just stop time now.’” – The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
I am not a person who finds it easy to live in the moment. At all.
Those who know me well know that I find it extremely difficult to shut down my brain for even the shortest amounts of time…and so I am constantly dwelling on and planning for The Future. Probably the scariest thing for a twenty something girl to consider and think about, The Future is this messy place that no one can ever be 100% prepared for, that no one can ever actually have a handle on, and that no one can ever really inhabit, because once it is here, it is present and so already gone. Basically, I’m the type of human who not only fantasizes about some indefinable period 2 to 5 years from now; I also stress and obsess over it, sometimes to the point of mental exhaustion. I like to have control over things, I like to make lists and schedules and cross accomplishments and tasks off of them…and therefore, I’ve never been at all comfortable with the notion that The Future is mutable, changeable and unpredictable. People tell me that no matter how strenuously we prepare for it, we can never have total mastery over it.
But I’ve been trying my hardest, recently, to live in the present moment and soak it all in. It’s no easy feat, but I am definitely starting to see that The Future is never going to be exactly what you expect it to be. Tons of things have happened to me in the last year and a half that I never would’ve predicted and that I certainly didn’t plan for. I choose to attribute all these marvelous things to Fate (a force I’ve been obsessed with since reading Romeo and Juliet in grade 9 English class), and I am really beginning to believe that everything happens for a reason and if something is meant to happen, it will! So, what reason is there not to live in the moment then, if the moment is so wonderful and better than I could’ve imagined? Why not truly experience every precious hour and day, why not be open to the scary but fascinating things that can occur out of nowhere? I haven’t had an obstacle thrown my way that I haven’t been able to incorporate into my Future yet!
The truth is I find it so hard to live in this very moment, to figuratively stop time and focus on the NOW, because I am afraid. I’m terrified beyond words and reason that something, anything, is going to pop out of the shadows and jeopardize everything I have and put everyone I love in danger. This is paranoid, I get that, but it’s also a mentality that is so difficult to change. For Henry and Clare of The Time Traveler’s Wife (yes, still obsessed!), it’s easy to live in the moment, because they know what The Future holds. Clare can be content and calm with her boyfriend Henry because she knows with absolute certainty that he is going to be her husband Henry. She’s seen their Future, through his eyes, and she knows that nothing can change it because it’s already in the process of happening. But, I’m not a time traveler, I’m not dating a time traveler, none of my family members and friends are time travelers – so what’s in store for our Futures in anyone’s guess. For all I know, this could all go up in flames!
I recognize that this is something every human has to deal with, and I know I’m missing out because of all my stressing. Sometimes I just wish I could see into the future though…or if not something that extreme, that I could just definitively stop in this moment and replay it, relive it as many times as I need to in order to be fully prepared and ready for that unpredictable move forward.
Girl with a Green Heart