Each day something or someone reminds us that time flies by and to take each moment in, but do we ever listen? Most times, no. It's only until we have small epiphanies that life is short every few years, months, or weeks (maybe days) and we decide we need to change our outlook on life. Then it passes and we go back to our old ways. It's a common human flaw. We're trained and conditioned from a young age that the future is something to look forward to and something to plan for. But this mindset more times than not gets in the way of us recognizing the present and from embracing each thing we encounter each day.
Those days of elementary school looking forward to middle school. Those days of middle school looking forward to being a "big kid" in high school. Then in high school looking forward to being an adult and "free" in college, but with slight hesitation and fear of the future. Then being in college and working toward finding the perfect job and building the future we've dreamed of. Before you know it years have gone by and so have so many opportunities to enjoy that time more than we did.
It only takes small instances for us to remember that time is flying by us and that we aren't living our present to its full potential, but quickly we can become wrapped up in "The Future" again. Slowly, but surely, we start living each day as a stepping stone to get to somewhere else we'd rather be instead of making our present what we want it to be. Just one more class to get through, just another piece of homework to do, just another work shift, just another day of dealing with this or this or this… There is always going to be something to work through before we reach "The Future", but, by then, "The Future" is the present and we didn't even realize we had gotten to a point we had once wished and worked so hard to be at - and we're letting it pass us by.
Life is always happening. And life is always happening now, in the present, not in the future. The future will always be a fantasy of what we tell ourselves will be worth it once this struggle in the present is over. But the future becomes the present and we are faced with another struggle and the new future moves farther and farther away until it feels untouchable because we made it that way. We can never reach "The Future" because we never accept it when it becomes our present.
I'm guilty of this. We are all guilty of this. This life we are living is never our own because we never own it. We never realize we are in the future we had wanted not long ago until it passes. Time flies by. And we dream for another future. We have to start dreaming for the present we want, not the future we want. By creating the present we want and living that present to its fullest potential, it allows us to move into the future we deserve because we have lived and made choices that have given us that future that we recognize is our present.
"The Future" can only be as good as the present you choose to live. Your life isn't suddenly going to change and be "The Life" you've always wanted. Your life will feel the same as it always has if you don't accept your present as your future. If you're always working toward the future, you won't live in the present, time will fly by, and you won't realize it until you wake up and see all that you pushed aside when you were so concerned with "The Future."
In the words of Tennessee Williams, "Life is always now" and we should start living it that way before it all passes us by. Enjoy the people you get to spend time with now. Enjoy the things you get to do now. And recognize that the life you've got now is the best life you could be living in its own way. You never know when circumstances will change or when a new future will become your present. There will always be those days where we look back and see that the best days were in past, but we have got to start realizing that we can make any day the best day of our lives. Yes, the future can be looking bright, but so is your present - make the most of it!