The Downside to Living in the Moment

Last weekend my better half and I visited a mall that I like to think of as Toddler Alley. As you might imagine, there are 4391* malls in Toronto. This particular one seems to specialize in giving young families a safe place to walk around in when the weather is uncooperative.

The first time I noticed the little boy was when he threw himself onto the floor with a loud wail. He was about two and clearly had hurtled past the outer rim of his patience.

“It’s frustrating to be that age,” I said quietly once we’d passed him. Drew nodded. The boy was so young that living in the moment was all he could do. The problem with that is sometimes the present moment is exasperating, painful, gruelling, or overwhelming. Without being able to see the big picture, all he could assume was that life was terrible and that things will never get better due to the developmental stage of life he’s currently experiencing.

It also made me think about the heavy focus on living in the moment in my meditation routine.

I understand the purpose of it. It’s a valuable tool.

Yet I wonder what makes it so hard for some adults to do it. I tend to struggle more with bridging the gap between what’s happening right now and how things might change in the future. It’s easy to assume that everything will stay the same, whether you’re currently experiencing the best or worst times of your life.

When things do change, I’m often surprised. Intellectually I know that life is full of change, but in this particular instance I empathized with that little boy. Living in the moment isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

*Or something like that.

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