Present Tense

I’m posting this NOW….

Hello_smileAlmost 7 years ago,  I published my first blog post.  So, here it is.  A lot has happened in that time, mostly good, but as with everyone, there have been challenges, losses, setbacks and the writing has been my solace. 

Maybe I’m a slow learner, although I never thought of myself that way. I tend to pick things up pretty fast, but there’s lot of stuff that I put right back down, just as fast. I read a book about people like me. Author Barbara Sher called us “scanners”, in her book “Refuse to Choose”. We like to jump around, in terms of our interests. Learn as much as we’d like and then latch onto the next thing.

That’s worked out pretty well for me, in a lot of ways; I can throw a fastball, read a stock chart, play a C chord, change a tire, cook a mean prime rib, pilot a motorcycle, ace a test, ride a bike with no hands (my record is two miles), sing the alto part of Handels’ Messiah, read and understand a map, and a lot of other things that I mastered and have since, forgotten.

So, it was a bit of a shock to someone as accomplished as me, in the little things, that I had not quite grasped the ‘big things’; the universal truths of life, the reason to get up in the morning, the road maps for growing up, growing mature and growing old, gracefully. That brings me to the name of my blog:  Present Tense. It has taken me literally decades to begin to explore a truth that many of you, maybe even unconsciously, use to order your lives and it is this: You can’t change the past, you can’t predict the future; you can only live in the present. In fact, it was a quote that I read in a magazine, sitting in a waiting room that really slammed me in my fevered, overly analytical brain: “We tend to rehash the past, and rehearse the future.”

I know, simple, right? But, to really absorb this concept was a true revelation, an epiphany for me. I’ve said and done so many stupid things in the past that haunt me and I’ve spent thousands of hours, thinking and planning and worrying about the future, that to finally begin to understand that truth and begin to practice it, is, and I HATE this overused word, empowering. Maybe a better word is, freeing.

So that’s the genesis of Present Tense; living in the present, feeling and acknowledging what’s going on RIGHT NOW, good or bad, joy or sorrow, boredom or incredible excitement. When you boil it down, it’s really all we have.

When my husband and I lived in Ohio, our house was out in the country, surrounded by soy bean fields and woods. Just across and down the street a ways, was “The Church of What’s Happening Now”, which I never attended. I know, that sounds like a comedy bit, but that was really the name of this small Pentecostal church in our neighborhood. I read the sign everyday, and the meaning never sunk in. Not being a church goer, I always thought that Christianity was all about the hereafter; waiting for the day the lord would take you from this mortal life, into eternal life, which is the ultimate in living in, and for the future. But, at “The Church of What’s Happening Now”, those folks were always organizing something to help the community; clothes, money and food for the poor, fellowship groups for the teenagers in the area, softball games, picnics and what I now see, is that yes, they were most certainly looking forward to the hereafter, but they realized that you have to put in the work, NOW. In their time on earth, there is lots to do in the present, to keep you occupied; in their case, it was helping their fellow man, on his or her journey.

So, I’m working to become an unofficial disciple of “The Church of What’s Happening Now”; living in the present, letting go of the past and letting go of the flawed notion that you can ever really plan for the future. You can lay a decent foundation and have a rough roadmap of how you’d like things to turn out, but to use another cliche, “life happens”. And really, if you think about it, it still comes down to the present; the choices you make every second, every moment, everyday, will in some way determine your future and if that’s too much pressure, keep this little nugget in mind: every moment passes; what may seem difficult or excruciating, at this very moment, will soon pass because no matter how much we struggle or rant or rebel or complain, time keeps on tickin’, tickin’, tickin’ into the future (thank you very much Steve Miller Band).

December 24, 2009 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , ,

13 Comments »

  1. I love it! Great blog entry! Can’t wait for the next. xo

    Comment by Kelly | December 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. Fabulous. My heart is swelling right now!!!
    More, more, more

    Comment by Marg | December 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. My VERY FAVORITE phrase: This too shall pass!!!!

    I think I was in my forties when I EMBRACED that phrase and philosophy!

    Merry Christmas

    Comment by big sis | December 24, 2009 | Reply

  4. Over the past two and half years I have come to realize much of the same in my life. I was a rehasher & rehearser. Then my daughter came along in my advanced years and I became a realizer. I realized that I needed to live right here, right now so that I wouldn’t miss one minute of my daughter’s (not to mention my own) life. Thanks for giving words to my new understanding.

    Comment by Kandis | January 3, 2010 | Reply

  5. You rock, girlfriend! I think this might be the perfect outlet for you (outside of your career). Your honesty, humor, and directness is a huge asset in this “blog-o-sphere”, where crap abounds. Brava, Jane… I’ve loved every word I’ve read so far. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us. xoxo

    Comment by Kathy | January 4, 2010 | Reply

  6. Expect Santa to make a visit today….oh, and by the way, why were my comments deleted? Ed

    Comment by edspolitics | December 23, 2014 | Reply

    • Ed:
      Thanks for the book! I will send you a note, but your comments weren’t deleted…just checked! It’s all good. Merry Christmas!
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | December 23, 2014 | Reply

  7. Happy holidays. Wonderful contribution. Thank you.

    Comment by Elizabeth | December 23, 2014 | Reply

  8. well said Jane, miss you , but am glad that you are happy

    Comment by Karen | December 23, 2014 | Reply

  9. Jane, I am coming out of a depression episode. I’m 44 years old, married with two children (9, 11). The last 7 weeks have taken me to the darkest places, and I never want to go back there. I harbored suicidal and self-harm thoughts and fought so very hard not to give in. I am getting help with medicine and a therapist who introduced me to mindfulness and meditation. I’ve been retraining my brain. It’s helping. Being mindful is about living in the present. It’s very hard not to perseverate about the past and the future, and I am learning to do that. I appreciate your blog and your perspective. You help me to focus on things that are positive and learn from the things in life. Thank you!

    Comment by Lori | December 23, 2014 | Reply

  10. Wonderful blog entry-We’re going thru big change at our workplace with a buyout from a huge hospital-everyone in limbo right now-This reminds me that I can only worry about 1 day at a time–My husband and I have that foundation, but you’re right it’s just a guide–Thank-you! Merry Christmas!!!!!

    Comment by Debbie | December 23, 2014 | Reply

  11. Thanks, Jane. What a timely and thoughtful blog. I really am thankful for you sharing your thoughts and perspectives with us. This was a great reminder that we can learn from our past and plan somewhat for the future but the present must be lived. Happy Holidays!!

    Comment by Kris | December 23, 2014 | Reply

  12. Merry Christmas and wishing you much happiness in the new year…

    Comment by Anita | December 24, 2014 | Reply


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