“It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

Why is it so difficult to enjoy the present completely?

Believe me, I know that Sam is growing quickly and that these days of pureed spinach and peek-a-boo won’t last much longer. And I love the time we spend cuddling and playing and making each other laugh.

But at the same time, I find myself slipping into nostalgia, sighing wistfully over the blissful freedom of my single days. Those three years between college and marriage already glow golden in my memory, and they consist of nothing but indulgent late mornings, the pure delight of living with dear friends who made dinner a few times a week, and beautiful hours of solitude where I could sip my coffee or cabernet as I read in peace.

Of course, it wasn’t really like that at all. I used to leave for work at 5:30am. I used to complain that my roommates didn’t do their share of the chores, even as I neglected my own part. I used to cry because I was lonely. I don’t want to go back to those days at all. Yet…wasn’t it lovely, before? When I could rest if I was tired?

And won’t it be wonderful, later, when we have our own house with a garden instead of this quirky, drafty apartment sandwiched in between a cheap motel and a tumble-down frat house with two Great Danes who exist to defecate on the lawn? And our kids can sleep through the night and speak rationally instead of crying? Won’t life be grand?

(Shh…don’t tell me about the mortgages and the bickering children and the trials of parenting. Not just yet.)

I’m not sure why memory so quickly gilds the past in perfection, or why the human heart thrills so easily at the anticipation of a perfect future, when experience consistently teaches otherwise. It’s certainly preferable to the dissatisfaction of regrets and the expectation of more troubles, I suppose. What it would be like to be one of those rare individuals who seem to live completely in the present moment?

 

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3 Comments

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3 responses to ““It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

  1. Eva Daniel

    I think I sometimes get caught in the illusion that it’s possible to have everything I want at the same time. So I want to shop like I did when I was single, but also have savings (something I didn’t have when I was single! :)). Or I want to not be pregnant anymore and just have my baby in my arms, but I also want to have endless opportunities to hang out with just my hubby (something that I’m assuming might not happen once I’m holding my baby). It’s not that I can’t have it all, but I’m learning that I can’t have it all at the same time. Lately I’ve been trying to find the best of now, and realize that it might not be here tomorrow. But it’s an area of constant struggle for me if it makes you feel any better. 🙂

  2. Janet Schamp

    I’ve experienced this “irrational fancy” frequently over the years. I remember moaning to Dick, “I used to be so _____, back then”, ie before marriage, or before kids, or before empty nest…wait, scratch that last one; I think I’ve finally learned the fallacy of such wrong thinking.

    We have been banished from Eden and long for that perfect existence. We’ll be restored to it someday. Meanwhile, remember: this world is not our home, we’re only passing through. I’m glad you’re thinking about the value of living in the present. It is a gift from God to be able to do it!

  3. You know, I have had lots of the same thoughts…then went on a business trip alone a few weeks ago and spent the four days away from husband and baby mostly missing them. The lattes and meetings and free time to window shop has really lost its luster. At least, for me.

    You will certainly feel a lot better in a few months when Sam is sleeping through the night and gets on a regular life schedule. That is a big deal. It changed everything for us, and for the better. Hang in there. 🙂

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