It’s often hard for me to live in the present
.I’ve always had a tendency to either worry to much about the future, or delve in the past, analysing all the awful stuff that happened to me or idealising my good memories, or when my future seemed absolutely hopeless to me, to escape into daydreams where everything looked colourful and I could entertain myself with millions of beautiful scenarios of my life and the reality around me.
I noticed it at some point a few years ago, while talking with my Mum about something good that happened to me in the past and I was all like “oh it was so good back then” and Mum finally told me something that really amazed me and gave me a lot to think about. She said she thinks I think about the past or the future so much that I don’t live the present and can’t appreciate it, and so my own life flies past beside me, without me taking actually part in it. And although it sounded harsh and brutal for me back then and I immediately said it’s not true, it stayed with me and I thought about it a lot.
Finally I realised it’s true. I realised that when those things I liked so much about the past, when all those nice moments were happening, I didn’t think much about them, didn’t think they are nice because my mind was focused on so many other things, negative and stressful things, so I didn’t really live that moment, only in my memories afterwards. I know now that there is even the word for it in the Welsh language, which can’t be translated directly to English, it is “hiraeth” and it means longing for things, or particularly places, that don’t really exist, because you idealised them in your mind. Like your motherland for example, when you’re an emigrant. Some time passed away, so it could change, and your mind deludes you that it was better than it ever was because, the grass is always greener… obviously. Hiraeth may also refer to the longing for something you don’t know, so you know you feel the longing or yearning and it’s very strong, but you don’t know what’s it all about so it’s a bit frustrating. Oh but I shouldn’t talk about the hiraeth now!
So I realised I was experiencing that what now I know as hiraeth and decided to change it. I thought it is a total and pointless waste of energy and of time to do what I did.
I started to try to see all the positive things around me and, pretty quickly actually, it wasn’t already so hard for me to notice different small things in life that could be enjoyable. I still am a pessimist, but not of that kind that don’t see any positives at all. My pessimism, as I wrote sometime before, is more of a defensive nature. And it doesn’t stop me from being positive and grateful for all the good things in life. I am very often depressed, but, unless it hits me really hard for some time, usually I’m not anhedonic, so, I still have my passions, things I like to do, and they usually help me. Also I cope better with not so distant future. Like, let’s say about three years ago, if I would have a nice weekend and could do lots of things I like, everything would be great, I wouldn’t focus on the weekend, but would likely freak out about all the stressful things that wait for me on Monday. Now I rarely experience it to an extent that really disturbs me a lot. If I have something stressing ahead, it’s still in the back of my mind, but if I’m doing something better right now, I surely won’t focus on that stressful thing. Why should I do it?
I think it is now easier to appreciate the life and all about it more, because the present is just easier for me than the past was. Just the fact that I wasn’t seriously suicidal in years now means I’m now in much better place than I was back then.
Unfortunately, I’m still worrying, sometimes almost obsessively, about the more distant future, it’s very hard to control it, especially in times like these, when I’m finishing one of the stages in my life and aren’t quite sure what to do next. I am still daydreaming, and, especially at night, different crappy memories like to remind me about their existence. I’m still trying to unlearn it. But at least I haven’t that feeling, that my life is going beside me, and I am stuck in the past or in the future and don’t take any advantage of it.
Do you also feel sometimes like you’re not living the present?