Enjoy The Ride
You can look towards the future with hope or dread, towards the past with nostalgia or regret, but in all these cases you’re missing what’s right in front of you, removing yourself from the present moment. Emily Dickinson wrote “forever is composed of nows” and of course the same can be said for the span of a human life.
It’s impossible to really enjoy the ride when most of your attention is focused on where you used to be or where you’re headed. Both orientations are forms of escapism, ways to dampen down the intensity of the present moment by diverting some of your senses to a place where you exercise the control since it all takes place in your head.
In this sense living in the moment is dangerous because it opens you up to situations you only have partial control over. People take refuge in the past or the future for this reason, to protect themselves, but the strategy takes its toll. If you survey the happiest, most fulfilling experiences of your life you’ll quickly agree that you were 100% in the moment during those times. If you want to be happy on a consistent basis you can’t rely on the memories you’ve already made or on your hopes for the future because both outlooks are ephemeral, out of touch with the reality of your situation. You’ve got to continually create your happiness through engaging with life in the here and now, which means accepting the bad moments along with the good moments.