In 2014 I had an epiphany. Yes, really – there’s no other word to explain it. It was a clear, cool morning in Ottawa as I walked down the street thinking about absolutely nothing. Suddenly, a fully formed sentence came out of nowhere and planted itself in my head. It literally stopped me in my tracks. The sentence said: “Maybe you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.”
I was devastated.
I had moved through life assuming that I was meant to be somewhere else, do something else, be with someone else. The “some where/thing/one else” was never defined. My mom fondly remembers that in grade 8 I was collecting plates and cutlery in my closet, preparing for the day I would move out.
It’s not like I had a Big Idea about who I was going to be or what I was going to do. But whatever I WAS doing, wherever I WAS living – THAT wasn’t it, I was sure.
After the initial disappointment of that thought – maybe THIS is where I’m supposed to be – I felt relief. I hadn’t realized the amount of energy I had been spending on an unknowable future. I began to see everything and everyone in my life differently, because maybe they’d be in my life for a long time.
On the morning of that epiphany, one domino fell and they’ve been falling ever since. All the things I thought were true, the ideas I had of myself, the beliefs I didn’t know I had and the beliefs I was very committed to – they all toppled. Since that day I’ve made changes in nearly every area of my life and looked into every corner of my psyche.
True stories don’t have neat beginnings, middles, and ends. More often reality loops, radiates, and falls back on itself. When you read my domino analogy, did you picture the dominoes falling forward in a progressive sequence? In my case, they fall forward, backward, and sideways. I’ve discovered how the past can rule my present; how the present shades memory; how I can become lost being preoccupied with the unknowable future.
I called this blog Progressive Tense because that’s where I try to live now – the present progressive tense to be exact. I’m on new terms with myself, others, and the universe. I explore and discover my life every day.
Where are you?
Where is your mind in relationship to your physical reality?
- Which tense do you spend most of your brain-power in: past, present, or future?
- Does your mind often wander?
- Do you dream about or try to create a particular future?
- Do you spend a lot of time trying to understand the past?
I love that you start with a sentance that just pops into your head one day out walking; and more, that you spent some time to consider it – which I think most of us, when we are frantically busy through our young days, don’t give ourselves permission to do.
Thank you, Deirdre, for the encouragement – it means a lot coming from a talented writer & avid reader! xo
I like to have a plan for the future, even as far as 20 years down the road. If you have a plan, you can alter it as things come up, but if you don’t have a plan, everything is stuff that comes up. Life is absolutely a journey. We don’t know what the destination is. By concentrating on the small pleasures of life every day I would say I live in the present and near future.
My mind wanders when I am having some ‘down time’ for myself. I don’t think one can be creative if one is constantly engage talking to people, doing things, watching television, etc.
I envision a future in which I live a good quality of life (physically, mentally, emotionally) but I am not trying to create a particular future. Just hope for the best and plan for the worst. Once again, being retired with a part-time creative business gives me a lot more leeway than someone your age!
An examination of our past is always a cathartic experience as I believe this blog will be for you. I like Benjamin Franklin’s idea of sitting down each week and going over what is my version of his 13 virtues. The key to Franklin’s success was his drive to constantly improve himself – mentally, professionally, and morally.
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