If you want to find out where you are, you need some sort of reference point. A lighthouse on a hill, a beacon by which you are able to navigate. Lets call this beacon “the future”. It represents where you are heading, the person you want to become, and the achievements you hope to attain.
But, one reference point is not enough. Navigators will tell you that in order to know what direction you are traveling, you need a second reference point. Lets call this point “the past”. It’s where you’ve come from, and it helps to give you your bearings.
You see, before we can see where we’re going we need to know where we came from.
And so, want to know where you are?
You are here.
Smack bang between your future and your past, and it’s called “the present”.
Sometimes we forget that that’s where we exist, and we find ourselves living in two extremes. On the one hand we live only for the future, discarding the lessons and wisdom learnt from the past. We spend so much time dreaming about what could be, that we miss out on what actually is.
On the other hand we dwell too long on the past and fall into the trap of “traditionalism” – doing things a certain way simply because that’s how we’ve always done them. Because we’re looking behind us all the time, we miss out on what is in front of us.
I have always found this tension hard to manage. Because of how I’m wired I am always looking to the “next thing”, and so often I find myself missing out on the present. Perhaps for you, you find yourself talking about “the good ol’ days” a bit too much.
The challenge however, for all of us, is to acknowledge the past, have dreams for the future, but most of all, engage in the present! As Albert Camus wrote: