Big intake of breath…
As a 21 year old, fresh out of university and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so many ideas have been floating around my head and today I wanted to share one!
The idea I want to talk about borrows from the tenets of Eastern Philosophy about living in the present, and never really ‘arriving’ so to speak. I want to start of with a quote from Alan Watts which goes something like this: ‘’and while as I said it is of tremendous use for us to be able look ahead in this way and to plan. There is no use planning for a future which when you get to it and it becomes a present, you won’t be there… you’ll be living in some other future which hasn’t yet arrived. And so in this way one is never able actually to inherit and enjoy the fruits of ones actions. You can’t live at all… unless you can live fully, now.”
If I look back with an honest eye at the past few years, there’s little doubt I’ve been preoccupied with preparing for my future. I’ve just graduated from University, where I spent three years looking ahead to what I would do when I had a degree; what job I might end up in, what adult life I might claim. Before that I was in college, working towards A levels that would help me get into the university I wanted so that, at whatever point in the future, I would be happy and I would be successful. I had an awful lot invested, and I suppose I still do, in the notion that one day, I would arrive. Everything would come together and I would somehow learn in a moment, the life I would live. But that hasn’t happened. I’ve arrived and yet I haven’t. I’ve ‘gotten’ to the future, and found that it ONLY exists in the future. There is no arriving – and I’ve been missing out.
We are inside of a system that prepares us only for a destination – not the journey that we live around and within every day. From a very young age, I have been learning how to prepare, but on this path my preparation will never end. We never reach ‘there’, wherever there is. We carry on preparing for the future all our lives and we never make it, because there is no destination. The future exists only in the future and it is useless to live for a future which shifts just beyond our reach each time we come close. Happiness can’t be possible in a future which is not guaranteed and joy for the future can’t, by its very nature, exist if you don’t try to be happy right now.