Cards on the table, living in the moment is not one of my special skills. I’m sorry if I’ve written this down on a resume. It’s not true. Sure, I catch glimpses of it. Like, when I press my ear against the world of vibrating floof that is my cat snoring. Or when I stub my toe. I’m pretty present for that too.
But most of the time, my mind is off on its own adventures. I’m either combing through past humiliations with the scrupulousness of a young Sherlock Holmes, or else bracing myself for a future where I will inevitably be rejected by a mouthy teenager who thinks my clothes are stupid and my hair is dumb. You know, instead of just watching my three year old play make-believe with her dolls.
Little kids on the other hand. Come on. They are the lords and ladies of living in the moment. If you’ve ever watched a small child trying to get a small button into a small hole, then you have seen a Zen master at work. The focus, the concentration, the absolute readiness to block out the entire world (including their mother’s voice gently asking if they need help because we really have to go now). To them, there is no time. Only now. It’s inspiring.
I wonder when they lose that?
If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s when they learn that there are twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, three-hundred and sixty-five days in a year (not counting leap years), that there is a yesterday we’ll never get back and a tomorrow that is not guaranteed, that school starts at 9 o’clock (or 8:30 or 8:45 or barbarically, 8:15), that you will always be rushing to beat the clock so that you are not (god forbid) late. That time rules our lives, even though everything in your past is just a memory and everything in the future is just a wish. And no one is concerned about the only time that actually exists. Now.
So…when is that, five? Six?
Maybe I’ll just stub my toe every now and then, just to remind myself of what’s real.