Present Company Included



We were having one of those wide-ranging conversations that we tend to have now that we know each other a little better. We both work in the mental health field, which can be both a blessing and a curse when trying to talk candidly with someone!

My side of the conversation had included two things that it often includes, past travels/the Civil War and new technology. 

“I’ve realized something about you,” she said.

“What’s that?” I said.

“You like very old things and very new things that are coming in the future.”

I thought about this for a minute, agreed in my head that this was indeed true, and was ready to let the conversation move on. It seemed, however, that she wanted to say more.

“And?” I asked, giving her that opportunity.

She paused for just a millisecond. I did not see it coming.

“You have trouble living in the present.”

And there it was.

One of those moments that is so simply and nakedly profound that it hits you right between the eyes with a force so strong that it knocks the wind out of you for a few seconds. 

As I usually do when I am uncomfortable, I responded with my tried-and-true coping strategy, the use of humor.

“That was an excellent interpretation, but your timing is lousy. Where did you do your training again?” 

She knew enough to let me sit with it. To let me own it.

Sometimes the biggest truths in our lives come to us in the quietest, gentlest ways, knocking us off our feet for a few minutes, leaving us dazed and wondering on the ground. Gazing up at the bright sun and realizing that we now know something about ourselves that we can either ignore, or use to move forward and make ourselves better. 

It’s six thirty AM. It’s a new day, a new week. 

I will choose to live in the present today.

Will you?


7 thoughts on “Present Company Included

  1. Hmmmph…I’d have to disagree, now I didn’t go to any special school but, the past contains a macroscopic array of events as does the future so there is far more to talk about in either direction as compared to the small snippet in time of the present. How much can one accomplish in a day, week, month or even year that’s of as much interest as things of old and those of the future? Next thing you know you’ll be writing about the weather, please no.


  2. I am grateful for the chance to learn to live in the present. I, like you, spent much of my time looking back or forward, never down (at my feet, where I am standing, in the moment –or maybe out to the left or the right to see my surroundings, but always over one horizon or the other). When I reconnected with my high school friends I learned something about me –they saw me as far different than I did when we were teenagers– and I wish I’d *been* there to experience the me that they did.
    I don’t want to miss a moment of my current life — all these new experiences are moments in time that will never come again and I want to experience every moment of it.

    Horizon’s are beautiful — but not nearly as beautiful as the surrounding environment — enjoy your day Doc — it won’t come again.


  3. “Carpe diem” is my personal motto since my father died when I was 16.
    I’m now 49…
    But it’s hard some days. When present is difficult to handle, find a comfortable, soft shelter in the past is much easier.
    And what about dreaming of a better future? Even more secure! You can design your future the way you want. How great.
    Present? You have to embrace it, cope with it, solve it, and accept it. What a struggle.


  4. Your friend really “had your number,” didn’t she?

    How many ways can one say “ironic”? I am serious…I truly wonder.

    Today, as well as off and on for the last month, I have had experiences one after another that are about as mind-boggling as what you seemed to have experienced. I will be talking with someone and suddenly I will hear something that I know is much more significant to or for me than the mere words that the person has spoken. The speaker, in most instances, has not seemed to realize the profundity of what he/she has said for me personally. Also, I have been reluctant to share much with the person because what I have heard seems so private for me that I SHOULD NOT share too much.

    I am guessing here, but I believe that self-revelation comes in such unexpected ways that we can easily miss the important things that we need to know about ourselves….things that we did not have time to stop to analyze because…”life is what happens while we’re waiting for the bus.”
    You know that quote, don’t you? It is so full of wisdom that it is almost like the other truisms I remember from one of my favorites, FORREST GUMP.

    Please remember what I mentioned to you the other day. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of all the people you are meant to help. God is using you in magnificent ways. You are blessed. Hugs, Ms B.


  5. I was hoping the present would come get me today, but it didn’t. Today was a long, slow, early August day from start to finish. A dog of a day, really. Hardly the kind of a day you’d want to seize. Nothing much happened to me today, good or bad. And I have a lot to do, but I didn’t do any of it today. The landlord informed me the place is up for sale, so I should have started apartment hunting today, but he told me that last Thursday. My nephew’s getting out of re-hab in two weeks and I could have talked to his mom some more about what he might need, but heck, she told me that last Wednesday. Fred, my landscaping buddy, said he wouldn’t need my help for awhile, but that was Saturday and maybe I should have been checking the classifieds today. I got a strong hunch the future’s gonna hit me soon and hit me hard, so today I just sat around and waited for the present to catch up. It never did. I’ll have to go find it tomorrow.


  6. I know Doc, but thanks for reminding me. At this stretch in life, I’m starting to believe in learned helplessness: stand still and maybe Gorgo won’t notice you. Then there’s the Stay-Puff Marsh- Mellow Man. Can’t even think about him! (A Grim Reaper metaphor, no doubt.) Today looks better already… a word from you means much! I’ll start carping soon, promise. On we go.


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