“I wish none of this had happened”, Frodo said. “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you”, Gandalf replied. Tolkien’s work has many great quotes, some of them are iconic and overused, some of them are lesser known. Great words nonetheless. They inspire people and make them think about their lives in a new light. They are a great lesson to follow by. And this quote segment has been picked out for a reason.
The segment describes our perception of events in our own Timeline. It shows that whatever we encounter releases a certain emotion. We do not really think about the good emotions, we tend to forget them more easily while longing for more in the future. The bad emotions are what stays with us. They, in fact, are a part of our survival instinct. Whatever happens that we experience as emotionally negative, we try to remember better, we remember the details more clearly because on a survival aspect we would like to never encounter this situation anymore. Everyone processes them in a different way.
There are people who are constantly thinking about the past, they are lingering in there. Their entire mind dwells around remembering what happened, trying to process it. Though, in reality, they do not realize that they are actually stuck in this vicious loop of ‘what if’. What if I didn’t do that, what if I had said that, what would life be like now? Well, to be frank, you don’t know, and you never will. Whatever has happened in the past has been set in stone. It’s a Chapter in a Book, and whether it has been written excellently or poorly does not matter anymore. The Ink is dry.
What about the future you might ask? The Quill hasn’t been dipped in Ink yet. One would say you are correct, focus on the future and everything will be alright. Well… that is almost correct. Putting your thoughts solely to the future makes you blind to what is happening around you. You will miss out on opportunities which are basically served to you on a tray. These opportunities could help you reach your future goals faster or aid towards achieving them, but they are not part of your pre-planned Path so you do not consider them.
This doesn’t mean that looking at the past or the future is harmful to yourself. The past gives you plenty of learning opportunities to look back on. It teaches you what works and what doesn’t work in your life. Whatever happened then, both the good and the bad brought you to this point in Life, whether you are going through a positive or a negative period, both sides had an effect on you. They should now act as your teachers, your guidelines for making better decisions in the present.
Same thing for the future, it is not bad to look forward to it, it is not bad to have dreams. Dreams motivate, dreams empower, dreams give you a goal in Life. They give you something you can work towards, but keep in mind there are many ways to achieve your dreams. There are so many things in Life which alter your path towards your dreams. Towards achieving your goals.
So, what about the present? The Ink is being used right now, possibilities are open. Whatever you decide to do now will have an effect on your future. Though, we do not know what kind of effect, and we will not know until the Ink has dried. But this uncertainty should not limit you. You have endless options of things to do, to consider, to think about. Every small action that you decide to do now will come back to you in one way or another. However, you will never know until you try, and it is better to regret having done something than to regret not having done something, because in the latter case you will never know how it would have worked out, thus, never creating that past experience which you can learn from.
When you focus on the present, it is best to keep yourself calm, keep your head clear and remember that you do not have influence over everything in your Life. Keep yourself open to all the endless possibilities Life has to offer. Seize the day, try any opportunity that sounds attractive or Life-enhancing. Talk to that one stranger, go to that one event, apply for that amazing job. Enjoy every moment of it, create yourself a fulfilling Life with as few worries and hurdles as you can have. This is the moment you have direct influence on your own actions. This is the moment you are writing your Story, you are writing your own Time. Make it memorable, before the Ink is completely dry.
By Guido Spierenburg – August 17, 2019.