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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Living in the moment

A few years ago when I was riding with my friend Lou back from a fishing trip he mentioned that he was trying to live more in the moment. I had enough familiarity with the concept to answer only that it was sometimes difficult. For a number of years Lou has been a practicing Buddhist, and I know that living in the moment is something that religion stresses.

This subject is on my mind because lately I found myself dwelling too much on the future. The future isn't a cheerful subject for a man close to 70 years old because the little he has left is often unpleasant because of age-related physical problems or loneliness. Likewise, too much reflection on the past often leads to pointless regrets and Monday morning quarterbacking. Better to appreciate the surrounding world and people as time unfolds.

It's ironic that this problem should occur now because I've generally had a natural tendency to live in the moment. To me, living in the moment doesn't mean ignoring prudent planning, financial and otherwise. It means to appreciate the now rather than hopefully anticipating better times in the future or attempting to recapture some perceived golden past. I'm invariably in the moment while I'm fishing, and vocationally I was fortunate enough to find work sufficiently challenging to stay focused. My friend Bill once brought up a neighbor who for years when Bill called out a greeting would respond with how many days he had until retirement. Bill and I agreed on how pathetic a statement about that person's work life that was. Beyond the financial aspects, I never thought about retirement until I actually retired.

From her studies of Buddhism, Pam is going to look over her books to find readings that may help me. Like many situations, recognition of a problem is an important first step, and I already feel I'm getting better.

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