‘Forever Is Composed Of Nows”: Emily Dickinson

Posted on October 5, 2012 in Specials

By Priyanka Vaid:

Buy groceries. Get the cloth stitched. Pay the electricity bill. Doctor’s appointment‘. These are the items on my to-do list for tomorrow. And what am I doing right now? Well, I’ve been trying hard to accommodate the little get-together with college friends into this list for some time now. This is the modern day definition of the phrase ‘killing time’.

An average day in the life of an individual today, is a combination of his/her daily work and pleasure. The daily work could be the work in office, in school, as a home-maker etc. While attending to this work there is little time left for pleasure. So, the ordinary man completes the day by watching TV or movies as a recreational activity. However, a consistent companion of man at his work and pleasure is the constant worrying about the future. Whether at the breakfast table, while driving to work, while at the workplace or back home, man is always thinking about what to do next. And so, relaxing becomes equivalent to going on big vacations. Now let us compare this scenario with that of a six-year-old. He plays and he is only engrossed in playing, and when he eats he does not think about other things. He lives in the moment, is happier than the others and does not need a vacation to relax. This is something we can learn from a kid.

Many would argue that a small child does not have a family to take care of or that he/she does not know anything about life as yet. Elaborating upon this, the fast paced time forces the individual to devote a major chunk of his thoughts to the next hour, the next day or any other part of the future. Sipping on some coffee in the office cafeteria, he does not enjoy the coffee but worries about the project coming up, the success of which would get him promoted. With the increasing prices of commodities and the growing competition at workplaces, man simply cannot have a moment of peace. This is what life is all about, today, right? Let me now try to defend this point.

I agree that we elders have a lot of things to take care of and are thus worried most of the time but we seem to have forgotten that at the end of the day, all that we strive for is satisfaction and peace. All of this adds up to impart happiness. You work hard today so that you can fulfil the needs of your children in the future and make them happy. This is life and it is all about happiness. To put it in simple words, we are destroying the joy of today to build the joy of tomorrow: the tomorrow that nobody has seen. As Corrie Ten Boom says— “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Also, the present is the building block of the future. If you work hard in the present, it is bound to yield good dividends in the future. So indeed, forever is composed of now. While there’s no running away from the work that keeps us occupied all the time, we can at least try to bother ourselves less about the future and start living in the moment.

So, the next time you sip on your coffee or sit with a friend, you know what not to worry about. Try enjoying the coffee for a change. Let me put a smile on your faces by ending with a quote from one of my favourite movies: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift and that is why it is called the present.”