"You're going to miss the way it was."
One day, you’re going to miss the way life is right now. You’re going to miss the pain and challenge of today because you’ll be so grateful for how it shaped your world of tomorrow. You’re going to wish you had today’s moments with your loved ones where you could ask them questions about their current perspective, experience one more thing with them, or share one more hug.
I think we undervalue the present because it’s a given. It’s all we’ve ever known and we’ve acclimated to it as a form of hedonic adaptation. It isn’t until it becomes something more novel, like a memory that you reflect on, when you can fully appreciate the moment for everything it is.
Speaking for myself, there’s one video I have of my nephew that makes this real for me. It was around Christmas time and we were playing with some of his toys on the couch. I remember at that moment realizing “This is the exact moment I’d trade anything for a few years from now.” It stood out to me because it so strongly contrasted with how I was feeling, counting down the minutes until it was his bedtime and I could get a break for the night.
But recognizing how that moment would come and go, and how I’d later regret not making the most of it, I was able to immerse myself in the experience and be deeply present with my nephew. It has become a cherished memory for me and fortunately I had the awareness to record a video of it. Watching it back often only a few years later, I already want that moment back. I miss it.
You’re going to want today back. It might be hard to see but what’s happening in your life right now is a formative time in our lives that everything else is built on top of. It’s an incubation period for your future and that’ll only make sense once the future has arrived. So don’t wish that it passes, be present with it, enjoy it, and experience it.
Whether times are simpler or more challenging, free or more restrictive, you’ll think back fondly on it all and want to be able to experience it all over again.