Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Live in the moment . . . or don't.

Let's pretend you have an ex-mormon, gay, buddhist therapist that occasionally falls asleep when you are talking to him. He's a good guy. You like him. He's only suggested you read one book and when you tell him the reason you go to therapy is so you don't have to read a book, he concedes and says you don't have to read it. He's perceptive, honest and keeps changing his office location, further and further away from your house. But like I said, you like him. He's a good guy. He really wants to help. Then he says something he can't take back, he says, "You know [you], what you need to do is live in the moment. Stop thinking about things that you can't change." He even says that, when you get stressed, "you need to take off your shoes, go outside and stand in grass or something. So you are in contact with earth." That sounded neat.

And pretend it works. A little. But you could take it too far. Easily. I'll explain in a moment. Just not this moment. Try not to think about it while you wait. As a matter of fact, if you can just take off your shoes and go stand in the grass while you read this blog (even though you shouldn't even be reading this blog because the first rule of this blog is do not read this blog), you will probably succeed in not thinking about it. Good luck.

Now, let's say you are talking to, oh, I don't know, your father. And you are just shooting the breeze with your old man, talking about life in general and he says, "You know, [you], you know what you need to do? You need to live in the moment. Be in the now."

So, think to yourself for a moment (this moment). Is this a coincidence? Two people observing you and making the same conclusion? Or is this a kind of truth?

I am going to assume that you are now done thinking to yourself and I am going to move on to the next moment. I'm kinda like your moment to moment guide right now. Stay with me. You don't want to get lost in then or if.

One final pretending. Let's pretend that the person you spend the most time with one person, be it your spouse, your significant someone, your best friend or even your cat and that person says "You know, [you], you should stop worrying so much. Let go. Live in the moment," or "Meow, [you], meow."

Trifecta coincidence? Trifincidence? The hat trick? What the heck is going on here? Maybe this is advice that you should take. Take that person outside with you. Take off your shoes, step into the grass and while you are standing there, toes in the cool green grass, soft earth molding to your heels, right before the ants swarm, say to that person, "Say that again." or "Meow." See what happens.

Okay, so I did say I would talk about taking it too far. That's going to happen pretty much now. And it also totally, openly, misses the point of living in the now, but if you are going to live in the now, you have to think about how it is going to affect you so you can be prepared. I mean, if you take any one of these scenarios and imagine yourself saying "Oops, I was living in the moment," it probably won't do you much good. But this is the part that all those people that tell you to live in the moment aren't going to tell you. Just be thankful that something brought you here, to this moment where you can learn some valuable lessons about living in the moment. If you don't want to know, head the advice of rule one.

What follows is a short and totally comprehensive list of times when it is inappropriate to live in the moment (TOTALLY comprehensive):

When you are planning your retirement.

When you are considering a career.

When you are at a bar and you need to drive home.

Considering when you will have time to go to the bathroom.

When you are walking towards the Grand Canyon.

Getting ready for a trip.

Putting on your seat belt.

Buying a car.

Brushing your teeth.

Eating broccoli.

Wearing white clothes.

Buying an umbrella.


Buying a TiVo.

Eating a hive full of killer bees.

Taking dance lessons.

Deciding between Trojan or generic.

Selecting curtains.

Wearing leggings as pants.

Telling someone you love them before you leave the house.

Getting your ears pierced.

Waxing anything.

Term or Whole life?

Pretending everything that other people tell you to pretend.

There you have it. A complete and exhaustive list of all the things you will need to do before you can live in the moment. Once you do all those things, you are ready to seize the day and live for now. Of course, by the time you finish doing all those things, you may very well be dead.

Or you may have preserved yourself quite well and be standing at the precipice of a new adventure.

Either way, you can stop pretending about what your therapist, father and cat are doing and take their pretend advice and prepare to live in the moment. Tomorrow.