Monday, March 23, 2009

Time Will Tell (careful with secrets)




How do you draw the line between the present and the future? At what point must you stop living day by day and begin looking forward, begin realizing that your dreams were indeed created for a reason, and in those hopes, strive towards a better tomorrow? Or, when must we reconnect our thoughts to the present moment, calling them back from the warm beaches of next year’s vacation. At what point does “thinking ahead” become a means of lessening the present. It’s already been two months, two months have passed and three more will soon be created and yet I can’t stop thinking about the future. I can almost hear the “tick, tock, tick tock” of a giant clock counting the days I have left. But left for what? Until I leave Poland? Yes, until I leave Poland, but even more than that, beyond the date stamped on my plane ticket (that doesn’t yet exist). I will, eventually, return to America, happily embrace all that I have missed and for a moment the insistent ticking will fade into the background, choked by the sounds of anticipated laughter, transformed to a note that rides on sirens of police cars as they speed through a city I’d like to call home, or perhaps the ticking will drown in the sound of the joyful bark of my dog as she greets her unforgotten friend, or be lost in the cracks of the record player as it reverberates John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. But slowly, the importance of time will once again surface as I flip through photos of months that have past, and the familiar ticking will once again enter the present and insist I follow him to the future. I will, eventually, graduate from school, my last three months as a college student being spent studying hard, but playing even harder. My college years will be summed up with indescribable moments (indescribable actual describes), unexplainable happiness, a library of photos, and a lifetime of memories. Four years of my life will exist not only within my head, but shows itself in everything I do, for it has been these past four years that have created the person I meet when I look in the mirror. But the future that exists (or doesn’t exist) beyond this time is as unpredictable as Poland’s weather. Again, I find myself only able to see so far, only able to assume what’s to come and I wonder if this, in many ways, is dampening the present. It’s so easy to preach the importance of the moment, to live in tune with each sound, smell, taste, and touch of the world around you, not to create the moment but rather let the moment create you. I admire those who have mastered this mindset, who are able to move smoothly from day to day with the understanding that the future is only what we make of the present, and in this moment, they exist. But the question of “What’s next” is something I cannot escape, and I continue to question if this way of thinking is beneficial or potentially damaging. Again, we come back to the question of the line and where it’s drawn between the present and the future. I was reminded of this today, as I am every time I shop for groceries (a minor instance, but reasonably significant). The basic foods you would find in my basket at Polo-Mart consist of: bread, yogurt, cheese, milk, cereal, eggs, and honey, with this I am able to eat for the next 3-4 days. When in checkout I notice the amount of food that others have chosen to buy that day, and in most cases it’s enough food for one day, perhaps dinner for later that night. Perhaps its not enough to draw conclusions (they may buy small to keep things fresh), but through this and other instances, it seems that Polish society runs more on a day to day basis, living each day at a time. On one hand, I agree with my way of thinking…buy more groceries, make less trips, save more time. While on the other hand, I agree with the other way of thinking as well, buy what you need, when you need it, deal with the future when it comes. I believe we must find a comfortable middle, to be able to appreciate and live in the moment while at the same time making plans and setting goals for the future. The only struggle is finding this place. In a world full of dichotomies, life only holds two decisions, the right or wrong, and in choosing you are inevitably left with the feeling of “what if”. But if we are able to find a safe stability somewhere in the middle, between the black and white, this or that, then perhaps we will learn to live comfortably between the present and future, between here and there, now and later. A place where the “tick tock, tick tock” no longer exists.

3 comments:

  1. really nice. "In a world full of dichotomies, life only holds two decisions, the right or wrong, and in choosing you are inevitably left with the feeling of “what if”". just chose the way and don`t think that it`s better or worse than alternative possibility You`ve not choose. You can not to check it :) I`m waiting for more!

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  2. You get very philosophical in this, and I love it.. but I'd like to make a more practical in the details comment... things in Europe, Poland probably too... and your meat blog says this.. but it goes for everything.. use FAR LESS preservatives than we do here. Even the way they pasteurize milk and juices is different... soo.. they last less time. If you buy in bulk, chances are alot of it will go bad before you can eat it.

    Buy small, eat it, buy more. You can't save time... it isn't real. ;)

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