What now? That’s the first question (The second comes right at the bottom of this post)
What now is a question we ask ourselves a lot isn’t it?
Usually it’s asked when a succession of bad things has happening to us. It’s said with a tone of exasperation. “What now!”. Or maybe when we’re stuck with no idea how to move forward.
But the ‘what now’ question I’m asking today is a different one.
I’m asking ‘what now are you living in’?
Is the now you’re experiencing actually more to do with the past? Or is it centred around the future?
Are you always time travelling? Going back to the past wishing things had or hadn’t happened. Then zooming ahead to the future and hoping that other things will or won’t happen.
Is your now really now?
I ask because it’s a question I’ve put to myself a few times recently.
We’re already a quarter into the year. In January I laid bare my plans for 2017. I started my 15 month project. So now would seem to be a good time to review how things are going.
Best practice tells us that for any goal to be achieved it must be quantifiable and measurable. It tells us that we must hold ourselves accountable.
Ok, fair enough.
But for me those best practices still reek of bullshit. The principles are reasonable but too often the implementation is heavy handed and counter productive. Sitting in the boss’s office at review time to go over your SMART goals. Oh yes, the smell of bullshit is strong again.
Those days are over for me so I’m not going to do a detailed quarterly review. I’ll summarise instead.
Could I have written more? Yes I could.
Could I have gone running more often? Yes I could.
Could I have made more progress with my Spanish? Yes I could
Could I have done more work on the boat? Yes I could.
Could I have done more of all the other things I could have and should have done? Yes I could.
Hmm, maybe I should jump in my time machine and go back over all that again. There’s plenty to beat myself up about isn’t there?
But what if I go forward instead? Is there anything to worry about looking ahead?
Writing– I’m still nowhere near finishing ‘A Foolish Odyssey’. Sales of ‘A Foolish Voyage’ are tailing off. I should be working 18 hour days and publishing more books.
Money – I’m going to have to take more money out of my pension to get us through the year. At this rate there will be nothing left in a few years, I’m going to be penniless. The tax rebate I was promised never arrived. Brexit has ruined the exchange rate, what if it gets worse? I’ve signed a new contract to stay in the marina all Summer. Should I have done that? SHould we have gone somewhere and anchored for free?. I really need to find a way to bring more money in.
Spanish – I’ve learnt quite a lot but I’m still too scared to open my mouth and try speaking it. Maybe I’m wasting my time. Maybe I’m just too old to learn anything new.
Health – I had toothache for two weeks. I can’t afford to go to the dentist. What if I lose another tooth. I don’t have many left. I don’t like to smile as it is. I’m 60 now, what other health issues am I going to have. I should sort out some health insurance but I can’t.
Family – Mom and Dad are getting old now. They’re on their own. What if one of them falls ill or worse? I’ll have to go back to the UK. What then? What if my daughter decides to marry her boyfriend? I’ll be a failed father again. I won’t be able to pay for anything. My brother’s out in Syria, I wonder if he’s OK? I know there’s nothing I can do about any of this stuff so I’ll just worry.
Gleda – I’ve so much work to do. I want that autopilot from the U.S. but the dollar rate is crap and I can’t afford it anyway. Then there’s the cruising chute and the new wind generator. What about hauling out and antifouling next year. That’s going to cost a fortune. I need to find a solution.
OK, yeah, it looks like I should go forward rather than back. Loads of things to worry about and work on in the future and I could easily add to that list.
So what now?
NOW, that’s what.
I’m staying right here. I’m ignoring the past and I’ll do my best to forget about the future.
Now is everything. Now is why I built a boat. Now is why I’m here.
Now is about today.
If I review where I am today I’ll have a better list.
Am I closer to finishing my next book? Yes I am.
Am I fitter than I was at the beginning of the year? Yes I am.
Do I know more Spanish than I did. Yes I do.
Is the boat in better shape than it was? Yes it is.
Have I done other things I’m proud of and pleased with? Yes I have.
I can’t change what’s gone before and truth be told I haven’t got much say in what happens in the future.
The only things I can control are those happening right now. Now is where I can chose.
Now is about new experiences, unexpected pleasures and appreciating what you have today.
All I can do is keep moving in the direction that feels right.
All I can do is what I can when I can.
I’ll deal with whatever else comes along in the best way I can.
What’s most important is to enjoy the journey.
The best way to do that is to live in the now and add something new everyday.
Do things you’ve never done.
See things you’ve never seen.
Go places you’ve never been.
I’ve ticked all those boxes this week and I’ll tell you about them next time.
So what now?
Now for the second question.
If you’ve read this far I know that you’re one of my long suffering followers. As always you have my gratitude. The fact that you’re here means that your opinion is important to me so would you do me a favour please?
I’ve spent the last week reviewing new designs for the cover of ‘A Foolish Odyssey’. The one below is my current choice.
I’d love to know what you think. What message does it convey to you? If you saw it on the shelves of a bookstore would you pick it up? Feel free to tell me what you like or dislike.
I have to make a decision over the next few days so if you could let me know sooner rather than later that’d be great. Thanks.