Thursday, May 26, 2016

Musings on the Nature of Time

Dear Future Self,

Felicitations. I hope this missive finds you in good health (or at least not much worse than it is as I write this—when did I get so old?). I have recently been musing upon the nature of time, and while I cannot claim that any of these thoughts are original—most quite patently are not—I do want to take the opportunity to codify them as a reminder for when I forget.

Remember the saying that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life? It’s wrong. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, and in fact the only day of the rest of your life. No, I am not prognosticating your doom (though, do make sure your life insurance premiums are current, because you never know…). No, what I mean is today is the only day that you can possibly do anything.

Despite my fondest wishes, it is impossible, so far as I know, to alter the past, so daydreaming and/or moaning about it will not change a thing. Believe me, I’ve spent far too many hours trying.

Nor can you do anything in the future. And this is the key point of my message. You can, and certainly should, plan for the future. You can make countless lists of what you intend to do in the future (believe me, I’ve spent far too many hours doing just that, seldom to much avail). But the only time you can actually do anything at all is today. Right now. Right this instant.

Too late, that is instant is gone. Fortunately, you’ve still got a few more—hopefully many more—but each one vanishes in the blink of an eye, forever mired in the past and beyond reach.

My point is that planning for the future is all well and good, but those plans mean nothing until you actually do something, and barring time travel the only time you can do anything is right now. Don’t wait until tomorrow to make changes in your life. You have to begin today. Don’t put off starting that new diet or exercise plan until tomorrow, because we both know at that point it is never going to happen. Don’t delay writing that book that has been bouncing around in your head for the past week, or month, or year, or decade. It has been in there long enough. Set it free, starting today. Starting right now.

Now get off your butt, sit down, and write!