Live in the Moment?

We’ve all heard that we should live in the moment. The present is the thing. But I believe that’s too simplistic.

There have been times in my life when I’d say I really lived in the moment. One morning I had gotten Jim off to work, the boys off to school, and I sat in my favorite chair drinking diet Pepsi, munching store-brand nacho-flavored tortilla chips out of the bag, and reading Writer’s Digest. I had sent my fellas off with a good hot breakfast, had cleaned the kitchen, had put clothes in the washer, and I was learning something while having a treat. I felt purpose and satisfaction. What a great life!

I have so many memories of moments of utter contentment, and they are certainly not all when I was alone eating chips. But is remembering them living in the past? Or are the moments that are vivid memories the ones we remember because we were genuinely living in the present at that moment?

I know we can’t live in the past. We have to keep growing and learning, even if the past was an awfully good time. On the flip side, it’s not healthy if we can’t let the past go if we’re reliving past hardships or missteps.

Am I learning from the past for the future when I understand I can’t eat all the chips I want and be a healthy person? Is that living in the future to visualize what I would look like if I kept nacho chips around all the time? Come to think of it, I haven’t had any in months, maybe even a year.

Past, Present, Future. They are all intertwined. Our present happiness, and here I’m thinking of simple moments of contentment, not ha-ha laugh-out-loud moments that are so fleeting, has to be a combination of our past experiences, the present moment, and our anticipation of the future. They all mesh together to make up a life. Don’t they? Too many philosophical questions are floating around in my mind.

And in case you’re wondering—yes, I’m adding nacho chips to my grocery list.