At lunch with my parents a few days ago, we talked about a range of different topics. One of the things my father said really had me thinking about life and its many stages. He was saying how he couldn’t fall asleep at night as he was happily reminiscing about things he did as a child and things we did as a family when we, his daughters, were younger. This brought to mind our thought processes throughout our lives.
Let us start with the above example and how when we are older, we tend to think a great deal about how our lives brought us to where we are and all the things that we went through along the way, both good and bad. It is a magical stage of life to see how far we have come and how eternally grateful we should be for all the great things that life has provided us, along with all of the lessons we have learned from the not-so-good things.
When we are a little younger, perhaps mostly in our 20s through 40s, we concentrate most of our thoughts on the future and what it holds for us. After high school and in college, we are focused on career and where we will work. In addition, we center in on marriage and family. In line with nurturing a family or relationship, we often lose some of ourselves as our spotlight is no longer on just us, but on our most beloved. When our children are grown during our mid-life, we then find ourselves wanting to know ourselves again as we are wiser and may be rediscovering another career or other changes in life.
So when do we think of the present moment? When we are young children, both innocent and carefree, we think only of the toy we are playing with at the moment, or the loving hug from our caregiver, or the ice cream sundae that tastes so delicious. As little ones, what is most important is what is happening just at this moment, nothing before and nothing beyond.
We are forever changing beings across time. It is wonderful to think of the past, present, and future as they all intertwine to make us who we are as people. No matter what stage you may be in, it is important that we focus mainly on the present moment, while using our past lessons to shape us into the people we are and will be in the future.