The past, present, and future are all concepts of time. They are words that will follow us throughout the rest of our lives. We all have a past. We are all in the present. We all have a future. But how we execute these concepts in our lives is what is most important about them.
The past. We hear that word and we cringe. We think about how bad that haircut was or how stupid we were or how sourly that relationship with the “love of our life” ended. The word “past” has been annexed with a negative connotation. We are told to “put the past behind us” and forget about it, but I think that is very bad advice with very good intentions, kind of like when they put “Do not eat the raw cookie dough” on the outside of the tub. We should not bury our past, but rather, we should use it to our benefits. From when we were young, up until this moment, and even prior, we have experienced situations, whether titanic or minute, that have taught us lessons. To let those lessons escape us would mean to be forever naive and simple-minded. Everything that has happened to us leading up to this moment has had an effect on who we are today. If we erase our past, we lose ourselves. Do not lose yourself.
The present is tricky. All of the past was at one point the present. What you do and how you act in the present will infinitely affect you. Unlike the advice about the past, this advice about the present is monumental. “Live in the moment.” Four simple words that hold such heavy meaning. Live in the now. Experience each passing moment as it comes. Observe your surroundings, travel a lot, laugh until your sides hurt, fall in love, fall out of love, try a new food, take lots of pictures. God, I sound like a 7th grader’s Instagram bio. But I’m serious. Do things in the present because, in a flash, it will become the past; another memory or another lesson. The more you live for right now, the happier you will be. I promise.
The future is a blank canvas. Who you were in the past and what you do in the present are all contributing factors to what will happen for you in the future. The future is in your hands now. Every next moment is not yet lived. The future is undefined. Though that can be quite frightening, don’t let the fear consume you. Embrace that fear and use it to motivate you to shape your own future into what you want it to be. No one else controls it but you. Take hold of the wheel and steer your own course.