By Anastasia Strgar
“It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.” ~Margaret Bonnano
This morning, when Arlo and I were waiting for our coffee, he told me how much this week of school is stressing him out. It’s Dead Week and so finals are close, which means serious studying for anyone still in school. I turned to him and told him, “Just do today. There really isn’t anything past today anyway and if you can just do it day by day, it won’t be as bad.”
But living in the present or even just living one day at a time is easier said than done because our generation is definitely not very good at it. You see, we love making plans and living in the future. In fact, making plans may actually be even better than finally getting to that plan that we’ve made. We think that by planning our lives for the next few years we’ll be happier, we’ll have direction and most of all, that by making plans Life will go according to our plan.
But when does life really go according to plan? Hardly ever. And when it does, is that really what we want? A lot of times when we’re looking toward something we lose sight of what we have and whom we have in our lives- we take things for granted and then when Life hands us things we didn’t plan we scramble to hang on or we make excuses or tell stories about how, for whatever reason, we’re not good enough for our plan.
The addiction of living in the future also deeply affects our relationships… When we’re single we go out to meet people hoping that they’re the One, when really, on a planet of billions, there are probably multiple Ones. When we’re in a relationship, we look forward to holidays, and most importantly, to various relationship milestones- moving in together, getting married, having children, etc and barely pay attention to the journey along the way. This refusal to love in the present is dangerous to relationships because it bases our relationships off of ideas, rather than reality. Most of the time when we reach these critical milestones they’re fun for a while and then you’re back to daily life- some days feel and look incredible, while others don’t as much.
When we can just live the day to day with our partner and we’re not constantly looking forward, a huge weight comes off the relating. At any given moment you can deeply listen to your partner, sort through your own thoughts, avoid storytelling and fall in love in ways you never thought possible. When you allow yourself to just be who you are at any given moment and you give your partner that same luxury, that is when real relating happens.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan for the future, because it’s good to have at least some idea of what you want and where the two of you are going, but don’t dwell in the future. Plan for the future but live in the present. When you can do that, it’s not always going to be easy, but at least you’ll be living your life instead of just planning it.