Remember that song “Fly Like an Eagle” (tolerable by Steve Miller, and tragic by Seal)? Well, sadly it just popped into my head. Namely the line: Time keeps on slippin’ (slippin’ slippin’) into the future.
I thought of this because today has been a day in which there just seems to be no time. Yesterday was like this, too. There are things I really want to get done–wedged between meetings and commitments–but that ever-slippery time is just sliding away, on into the future.
And that is often where I leave thoughts like this–I hum them away as truth without ever considering that it isn’t truth at all. Time is at a premium, sure, but it isn’t ‘slippin” away, and it cannot slip into the future. It just can’t. Wherever there is time is the present–it has to be. Right now–the only moment that actually has a time affixed to it–is fixedly the present tense, until it becomes the past, but never (NEVER) will it become the future. The future is a tense–dubious at best–and it is not governed by time until it becomes the present.
So why, on a day when I have literally four and a half minutes to write this post, am I rambling philosophical, attempting to disprove the lyrics to a mediocre-at-best song? Well, because a lot of the reason I have no time is because I am lining up my schedule and trying to fit a bunch of future activities into the present-tense moment; now and the future are warring for my attention, my priority. No matter how I look at it, though, right now is right now–it can be no other thing. And right now I am doing what I am doing and I can do no other thing. And, here is the clincher, right now is all I have.
See time keeps on slippin’, sure, I’ll give you that. But at some point it ceases to slip. It ceases to be altogether, and at that point I am past tense. I am also dead.
And the point, on this harried day, well, is this–How am I handling my present tense? Am I devoting myself deeply and excellently to it like the precious thing it is? Whether it is making a call, sending an email, sitting in a meeting, taking a walk, picking up the kids, texting the wife . . . often I look at whatever I am doing as a thing to check off so I can move on to the more important things. And those more important things are only “more important” because they are next–once I begin engaging in them, I treat them as penultimate as well.
I have now.
I have this moment.
And I will never have it again.
Moments like it? Perhaps. But this single moment in this present tense on this day and this year, well, it is one of a kind. Unique. Special. It is now.
Now, what will I do with it?