Reasons To Stay Alive – The Now

I wish it was this time next month. I would be on my summer leave. I’d have another stressful job interview behind me. My book would be published. I’m anxious about the latter two. Very anxious. The next month could be one of the most important of my life. In so many ways. It’s a big deal, the biggest of deals. Well, to me anyway. I’m wishing my life away, I know. Yet, still this is my wish.

Anxiety is the fiend of the future. It’s worrying about what lies ahead, what’s around the corner, over the next hill. It’s a fear of the unknown, the uncontrollable. Depression, however, is a vitriolic demon from our past. Regret, guilt, dismay at past actions and decisions which hang over us like the darkest of clouds. Depression is a backpack of boulders which you lug around after you, years after the event.

These toxic twins converge in the present. The now. They are two tiny drops of ink released into a glass of cool, clear water. There, they wreak havoc, clouding and contaminating everything we think, say and do. They perch on a shoulder apiece, poking and prodding, whispering acidic asides, draining us of our confidence and calm. They strangle hope and aspirations. They are the destroyers of worlds. Your world and mine.

This battle rages in the now. An invisible struggle which many around us know nothing about. We keep it locked inside us, too ashamed and fearful to open our hearts and expose them for what they truly are. A Pandora’s Box of despair and dismay. We soldier on in silence, refusing to reach out for the help we so desperately need. We drown in the abyss, the quietest of deaths. Nobody needs to know.

The now is our prison. It’s bars are thick and strong. Our cells are bleak and bare, and we have few visitors. Here we wither away, starved of nourishment. Our souls wither on the vine, our hearts shatter into a million shards. There are no witnesses to this disintegration. For on the surface everything is great, wonderful, fine. Meet pride. Another enemy of the mind.

Want to know a secret? The now is freedom. We must embrace it, open our eyes and look around. The now is virgin ground, a sanctuary from poisonous pasts and fetid futures. A summers walk, a child’s laughter, a meal with loved ones. These are the now, our escape tunnel from what was, and what is yet to come. Each hour, minute, second is the now. There is nothing but the now. Fresh hope, another chance.

I must recalibrate and focus. Stop looking over my shoulder, or straining to see what is ahead. Remove the scales from my eyes and look around. Appreciate life for the miracle it is. It’s a mindset, a philosophy I strive and strain for every day. So tantalisingly close, all I have to do is stretch and grasp it. Carpe diem. Seize the day. For within it, lies the glittering jewel we call our lives. Seize the day. Seize it now.

51 thoughts on “Reasons To Stay Alive – The Now

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  1. Well written description of how difficult life can be, a raw piece that opens doors into your life and one I reflect upon. I wrote a piece yesterday, probably the most true, real feeling I’ve put into my writing. Life can be so cruel yet we stumble forward until one day we either blend into the madness or stand out as the survivors we’ve become.

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  2. So it’s safe to say that your writing has been therapeutic and at least somewhat cathartic. And that would also explain the running. You know you’re going to regret all that running as you get older right?

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  3. Thank you for putting into words the value of living in the moment. There are times that I am filled with joy while doing some things that seem far from epic. But it is an appreciation of the run, the location, the rising sun, the beauty of the moment that puts a smile on my face, a lift to my step a joy in my heart. These are times that I forget what has passed and put aside what lies ahead and am thrilled by the mundane, the ordinary, the opportunity to experience. Thanks for helping me to realize how important this is…to me anyway.

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  4. One thing that I’ve great comfort in is during these struggles there can always be something to take away. It is not the goal that teaches us but the journey between. Since I caught up to your chapters, finally, I’m so excited. I can see your inspiration for Kirkwood in this post. (Hint hint to potential readers who are curious, Stephen’s book gets published next month!)

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  5. Funny you wrote this! And I must say ‘you wrote it, brilliantly’!
    I live in the moment! I barely remember the past! I couldn’t care less for the future considering, it has no guarantees and pointless to worry about! I enjoy this very moment! But, the echo of the total silence around..is sometimes…deafening.

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  6. Love-it! I do meditation to kill all the excess baggage- I’d be a blubbering pile of ‘creative human’ if I didn’t. My world is far to deep to leave it all inside. ☺️ It’s so hard to stay in the ‘now’. But ‘now’ really is the answer, isn’t. ☺️

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  7. The one thing that has helped me most is meditation and prayer every morning. I also find helping others gets me out of myself. It’s very counter intuitive to help someone else when I feel like crap, but when I don’t think about me I can’t feel stuck. That’s my remedy – it’s not for everyone. (And you did not ask for opinions of course! Just sharing my path.) Lots of luck on all fronts to you!

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  8. I struggle with anxiety and have difficulty staying in the now. This is a timely post for me and so beautifully written as well. Thank you!

    “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” -Bill Keane

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