Thursday, January 1, 2009

Living in the Present

It feels like I should be posting reflections from the year past and resolutions for the year to come. It's what's done, no? So I tried. Truly I did. I thought about the year past - the highs and the lows - but mostly the pleasantly mundane middles. I thought about the things I should resolve to do in the year to come. I couldn't come up with anything that held my interest long enough to bother to write about it.

Last night at a New Year's Eve party, there was some discussion over whether we live in the past, present or future. We all agreed that we spend some time living in all of those places. I know I do. But if I'm going to be honest with myself, I do spend a lot of time living in the past. My past was more interesting. It was more exciting. It makes for a better story. My present, while certainly more pleasant than my past, doesn't make for a good story. Let's pitch the book, shall we?

Ok, it's about this middle-aged unemployed-by-choice chick who is happily married and living in the suburbs. Also she's overweight.

Where's the conflict?

There is no conflict. She goes about her life and is mostly happy and content. Sometimes she gets frustrated, though. Is that a conflict?

Depends - what frustrates her?

Well, her kids don't always listen to her. And the world isn't always nice to people who are overweight.

That? Is not a story anyone would want to read.

No, I guess it's not. So I think about my wild misspent youth. I think about how much better the music and movies were when I was younger. I listen to said music and watch said movies whenever I get the chance. I impose them on my children so they'll "know what good is".

Speaking of children, Tom and I are constantly telling Lea to live in her present. She, like so many of her generation, will be out somewhere - with actual people - but will continue to do most of her socializing via text. We remind her to enjoy the people she's actually with. "Be where you are", we say to her. She rolls her eyes, puts the phone away for a moment, and has it out again the next time our backs are turned. I've stopped coming down on her so much about it, because I recognize that it's not just her. It really is the hallmark of this generation.

But not mine.

So I think, if I'm going to make any resolutions at all, that my resolution will be to live in the present this year. I will go to the gym because I feel better when I work out, not because I am working towards a weight loss goal I'll never achieve. (hold me to that one, will you please? It's so hard not to fall into the "this time it's gonna work - for real - I just have to want it badly enough" mentality) I will live today for today and not long for yesterday or dream of tomorrow. Ok, I'll still totally do both of those things, who am I kidding? But I'm going to resolve to give today precedence.


Shannon Baskind said...

Living in the present is so easy when we're children. When we say we "don't wanna grow up," I wonder if that's what we really don't want to give up.

I also wonder what today's kids will use as references for their childhood. Will "iCarly" or "Drake & Josh" bring them the same warm fuzzies that I get from memories of "The Carol Burnett Show?" Will they recall the music of the latest American Idol?

As always, your post leaves me pondering some very interesting questions. Thank you!

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, dude.

My initial instinct was to respond that everything is easier when you're a kid. But then I look at some of the problems our little girls face and think, "man, I wouldn't be that age again for anything". So. Maybe not easier. Just a different hard.

Thanks for your kind words!