To Become or to be?

Focusing on the future means missing out on the present

Change is inevitable.

Nothing is set in stone or frozen in time as we constantly evolve throughout our life, whether we choose to or not.

Increasingly inured to the small pleasures of life and unable to enjoy the moment, we can’t help looking forward all the time.

The present is no longer good enough.

Instead of appreciating what is, we squander our attention on what could be. We adopt a growth mindset because capitalism demands we should always strive for more. More attention, more money, more material trappings.

We are greedy, and we are grabby.

Rather than live, we exist as we pawn the present for a future that is never guaranteed, telling ourselves it’ll be better. It might, if we live long enough to see it. Meanwhile, we disregard what we already have.

Many of us don’t even realize this is what we’re doing nor do we question our relentless obsession with hitting goals, targets, and objectives.

As a result, we don’t hesitate or think twice about sacrificing our health, our relationships, and our best years onto the altar of consumerism.

But none of this makes us happy, and it shows.

To make up for our chronic lack of time, we turn to technology for connection and conversation.

While the internet can help families bridge geographical challenges, connection can be hit and miss.

These days, we shop for a partner on dating apps based on looks and disappear them with the swipe of a touch screen instead of going out in the world and meeting people.

Dismissing a fellow human we know nothing about doesn’t even strike us as dehumanizing even though we’d never be so rude as to turn on our heels in real life. We don’t take the time to get to know people and what makes them tick; we expect technology to deliver happiness on demand.

Instead of placing our faith in our shared humanness, we surrender to mighty algorithms.

We trust them to make up for our lack of interpersonal skills and then wonder why relationships sour quickly.

It gets worse.

To some of us, having a random stranger strike up a conversation feels like an invasion of privacy and is automatically frowned upon. If a man is talking to a woman for example, then he must be trying to get in her pants; if a woman is talking to a man then she must be flirting and up for it.

And we’re so wrapped up in ourselves we’re often incurious, unconcerned, and uninterested about those who are not us or not like us.

But although we don’t really care about anyone, we still want others to care about us.

Have we forgotten how to be humans in the world?

Disconnected from the present moment, we overlook today and live for tomorrow when we’ll have more money and the perfect partner.

Today might as well not be happening as we’re never really present, preferring instead to teleport into another dimension.

But tomorrow isn’t real yet, only imaginary; when it arrives it’ll have morphed into today and we won’t want it anymore.

Even though dreams and ambitions are necessary guides, it doesn’t mean our journey to where we want to go should be a miserable one. Or that it exists solely as an investment into the future.

Building is in our nature and something we can only achieve with sustained and continuous effort. But it shouldn’t prevent us from living a little every day and drawing pleasure from ordinary joys.

The embrace of a loved one, the laughter of a child, the purr of a cat, the scenery outside our window, a ray of sunshine, the smell of rain, the taste of coffee… All those fleeting, simple joys are available right here, right now so why should we blink them away or dismiss them as trifling?

Today is the only tangible moment there is; perhaps we need to relearn how to make the most of it.

I’m a French-American writer and journalist living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.

The human condition is not a pathology・👋ASingularStory[at]gmail・ ☕️

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