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One of the central themes of simplicity and minimalism is the present moment, the here and now. We can't win against the past or the future because we aren't there anymore/yet, and the only moment we have control over is here and now. Let me explain a bit how understanding this changed my life.
When I was living in Japan, I went to school in the mornings and worked at a restaurant in the evenings. Usually, I had a bit of free time over the beginning of the afternoon, until I had to leave for work at about 3PM. I remember having this impression that my time didn't belong to me, that it was slipping away from me.
And 3PM was like the end of the day to me, the moment I left for work, only to come home at about 1AM. No matter that I eat a nice little "combini" dinner or took a hot bath before going to bed, my days seemed like an endless chase after time. Until, one day, I realised one simple thing: no matter how much time I have in total, I will always have time now, until I die.
We have nothing but time, really. Here and now is never going to end as long as we are alive. It is useless to mourn the past or yearn for the future, because no matter how long we had, or how long we have left, it doesn't belong to us. Only the present moment does. It sounds very abstract, and I don't know if you understand very well what I mean, but it made sense to me when I realised that, and I decided to stop running after a future that would never be mine, and enjoy the present instead.
How did it change my life? Technically, nothing much changed, but my perspective did, and so did my well-being. My days didn't "end" at 3PM any longer. I enjoyed the train ride to work by reading books, listening to music or watching my surroundings. I enjoyed the work time as I saw different types of clients passing by, I enjoyed the ride home, my little dinner and hot bath.
I started paying attention to what I was doing right now, and making the best out of it. I wasn't in a hurry anymore, brooding over a future event that isn't going to be that bad anyway, or regretting past events that I should have done better. I started enjoying what is going on now.
Which doesn't mean I stopped learning from past mistakes, or plan for future projects. It just mean that I do my best to not let that spoil what is going on here and now. And it changed my life, because I stopped worrying about many things. I started paying attention to little joys and little gifts around us that we tend to miss when we are into our minds.
It doesn't suddenly become easy to stay here and now, it took me years to improve little by little, and I am still quite often into my mind to be honest, but I am now aware of that and trying my best to stay here and now. I learned to enjoy the process as much as the goal, appreciate the mundane tasks and stop waiting for something extraordinary to be marvelled.
Does this make any sense to you? Do you enjoy the here and now, or does it just sound like minimalist soup?