I’ve always been sort of a “live in the moment” type person. Not only do I try to enjoy every last bit of a good experience, I also handle stressful days or situations in a similar way. But in stressful situations, instead of living in the moment, I live through a moment by taking it on in incremental amounts of time.
There are times that I start a stressful work day thinking, it’s only eight hours. I’ll just forge ahead and focus on the proverbial sky not falling, at least not during that eight-hour stretch. Once the hours have passed, I can then go home and not have anything to worry about until the next day.
Maybe it’s a false sense of security to think — often subconsciously — that nothing earth-shattering can happen in a matter of a few hours. But it seems easier to cope focusing on the here and now and not tomorrow. I have heard parents of at-risk teens say that they wake up every day hoping they don’t get that dreaded phone call that every parent fears. Each day that passes without that phone call is a tiny victory.
I know this way of thinking is flawed in many ways. First of all, you don’t always make it through those increments of time untouched. You show up for work, and in the course of making it through the day, you get called in to your boss’s office to learn you lost your job. You get hit by a car on your way to the office. That dreaded phone call finally comes. So on and so on ….
The other thing that’s flawed is that bad things happen even when you’re having fun; you’re having a moment that your living in, not expecting anything bad to happen. Things of which you have no control and things that have long-lasting and far-stretching consequences happen when you never knew you had anything to worry about. A moment you are living in suddenly becomes a moment to live through. These moments are even more blindsiding than the ones you spent time fearing.
A lot can happen in 24 hours. A lot can happen in a matter of minutes. One can literally go from bliss to gloom in the blink of an eye. And as insignificant as 24 hours, 24 minutes, or even 24 seconds may seem, once those hours, minutes or seconds have passed, what happened during that time can’t be erased no matter how much could of, should of, would ofs you play through your mind. I think everyone has had a moment in their life when they thought, “if only I could turn the clock back, just a few hours. Everything could be different.” The reality that that’s not possible really sucks sometimes.
If it were possible to turn back the clock, maybe everything would be different. But maybe not. Maybe you’d just be delaying the inevitable. Since we’ll never know the power a turned-back clock might have, the only thing you’re left to do is realize that the past can’t be changed, but maybe the outcome can.