Times are uncertain. They can be stressful and anxiety-ridden for many people. We don’t know when the pandemic will be over and when we’ll be able to hug our loved ones on a regular basis. People don’t know if they are going to catch the virus. We don’t know if our friends or co-workers are going to remain healthy. We don’t know what work life will look like a year from now. People have plans on hold. Weddings, honeymoons, studies abroad. We don’t know what family holidays will look like for the foreseeable future. We don’t even know if school will still be in session next week.
This all sounds dire, but that is not the reason I am writing this. It’s the opposite. We don’t know what we don’t know. So in the meantime, all we can do is make decisions with what we know right now.
On one of our daily walks, Gavin and I were walking through the Distillery District in Toronto, and I noticed these signs in different locations “All We Have is Now” and “All We Ever Had Was Now”. They are gimmicky signs in a touristy historic site in Toronto. But gimmicky or not, it resonated with me. All We Have is Now.
Even without the pandemic it resonates with me. Middle age has me wondering a lot about the future. What it will look like. But I don’t know. Nobody ever really knows.
All We Have is Now.
How can this idea play out in my daily life?
There’s a meme people share sometimes that says variations on “If you eat well, get good sleep, exercise and drink plenty of water, you’ll die anyway”. The idea that it doesn’t make a difference is questionable for a number of reasons, but my main argument against this line of thinking has always been that exercise makes me feel better TODAY. No, I can’t predict the future. I may not live long enough to see if it helps me in old age. But it makes me feel so much better every day, right now. That’s enough for me. All We Have is Now.
If I have plans to meet someone for a socially-distanced meal or walk and we’re wavering because we are not sure about the weather. Worse, we start lamenting that the weather is going to get dreadful and the winter is going to be depressing without these activities. Dress appropriately and go. Worry about today’s plans. Take the opportunity to talk and vent and laugh. All We Have is Now.
When I’m doing a HIIT workout in the park and I am not feeling like speeding up on a sprint or challenging myself on a step-up lunge. All We Have is Now. Move those legs the best I can. Act accordingly.
If I’m feeling a little slow on a Sunday morning and not sure if I should go for my run, even though I always feel better for it. All We Have is Now. Run Nicole Run.
If I’m noticing the softening of my jaw in the mirror and the deepening of the line on my forehead, wondering what will be years from now, be grateful for the day. For the life experience that is giving my face lines and softening the edges. Hope for many more lines. All We Have is Now.
When I feel like I need to rest and savour my coffee and snuggle with my husband a bit longer. All We Have is Now. Savour. Snuggle. Rest. Be grateful I have the time and choice to do so.
When I’m hesitating about taking new courses that interest me but I’ve thought about it enough that I am convinced it’s a good idea and I can afford to take them. All We Have is Now. Take the courses.
I agree when people say that it’s OK to be easy on oneself during this pandemic and that if you are not achieving things you normally would, that is absolutely fine. Cut yourself some slack. But at the same time, if people feel like doing new things, or more of the things that have given them joy in the past, they should go ahead. This pandemic and the aftermath can go on for years. We don’t know. Within safe parameters, we should do the things that give us hope. Make us feel healthy. Help us take each day at a time, without worrying too much about the future.
When I’m streaming endless shows these days, or reading a new book, I’m often reminded of how recently people could congregate closely, get in each other’s personal space more often (when appropriate), sit and laugh and argue and stress, while eating in a restaurant. When will the way people interact on shows we watch and in the books we read resemble our current situation again? Sadly, I don’t know. But I do know, that All We Have is Now and I am grateful for it. I hope I make decisions daily that make the most of it.
Dear Readers, what does “All We Have is Now” mean to you?