Precious Moments

I’ve made my last list.

That’s right, I’ve made the last list of 101 Things I Want to Have, Be, and Do in Life.

Because, you know what? My present self has no clue what my future self will want.

And my future self probably won’t be satisfied with whatever my present self procures for her.

My brain, through a bit of nifty evolutionary development that has allowed me to progress beyond the startlingly-similar-to-human-yet-still-pining-for-bananas intelligence of a monkey, constantly plays tricks on me that way.

Don’t believe me?

Think of something you really, really, really wanted in life that you now have.

Something you dreamed of holding in your grubby little paws day after day, maybe even year after year.

It could be a job, a house, a spouse, a mouse.

(Not really, but it rhymed.)

Seriously, what has your past self dreamed up, sweated and sacrificed for, maybe even sold itself to a horned goblin for, so your present self could partake of its incontrovertible benefits?

And how do you feel about it now that you have it?

With the exception of some very precious things and people, you probably have mixed feelings about what you worked so hard to attain.

Or you may have forgotten how much you wanted it.

(We do, after all, have a tendency to take people and things for granted when they aren’t shiny and new anymore.)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advocating tossing out the entire notion of goal-setting per se.

Society wouldn’t exist without progress and, honestly, I can’t imagine life without something to look forward to tomorrow.

As I said, it’s how the human brain works at its current evolutionary state.

What I am suggesting is scrapping the idea that working toward the achievement of future goals is somehow more important than thoroughly enjoying the here and now.

I know, I know, it’s a little crazy to suggest enjoying the present moment instead of fretting and toiling for a future that may never actually come since we may be hit by a bus while crossing a busy intersection, dashing to an all-important meeting about how to design a software program that will allow tomorrow’s teenager (who will have thumbs strong enough to support her weight thanks to the eight-thousand hours per year she spends text-messaging) to take a photo of her nostrils, compose a haiku to accompany it, and upload both to her MyFace page wirelessly via her Raspberry.

Yeah, it’s crazy to think that this moment, this second, the last breath that you inhaled, is all you really have.

But the fact is, not only is this moment all you have, but in the time it took you to read these words, it’s gone.

Don’t waste the next one.

Helen Hunter Mackenzie