Wednesday, February 02, 2005

This Is It

This is your life, right here and right now. The present is as real as it gets. If you are not doing with your life what you think you ought to be doing with it, then you are doing something wrong.

After the 2001 attack on the World Trade Towers, the New York Times published short pieces on those who had perished. The story of one fellow in particular remains in memory. He was a bond trader whose office was high up in one of the towers. A man in his late thirties, early forties, his dream was to live in a small town in the Rockies and operate a bait and tackle shop. But first he had to earn his grubstake, or so he thought. So he slaved away in the certain present for an uncertain future. He did what he did not love so that he might do what he did love. He did what he did not love for a present that never came.

His living was not a true living, but a postponing. He placed his real life after his present life, forgetting that the present alone is real.

When St Augustine was asked what he would do if he knew he would die in the next hour, he replied, "Nothing other than what I am now doing."

From these lessons we may infer a Vital Imperative: As far as possible, live in the present as if the next hour were to be the hour of your death. How do you want death to find you? Living self-sufficient in the riches of the moment? Or standing on tip-toe craning your head toward a nonexistent future?