Monday, March 28, 2011

Carrot on a stick

I am convinced that our lives are pretty much motivated by things that are happening in the future. It keeps us moving in the present. There is nothing like a vacation, holiday, big event or upcoming birthday dangling in front of you like a carrot on a stick to keep you going.

Unfortunately, vacations end, holidays fly by, and birthday cakes (or carrot cakes) are eaten and then your brain frantically darts around looking for something else to look forward to. The problem with once a year carrots like vacations, Christmas and your birthday is that they come and go once a year but they linger on your credit card statements.

You're better off putting baby carrots on a twig for things like your favorite television show, your daily downtime before going to bed or dessert. These unfortunately, are carrots fraught with obstacles such as reruns, cancellations, children with monsters in their closets and an expanding waistline from looking forward to dessert a bit too much.

To this day, I get a charge out of buying something new. It's the process I look forward to more than the having something new. I love doing Internet searches to compare products and then order them. I love tracking them online to see when they are going to be delivered. And I love finding the package on my doorstep. But when the package is opened, part of the joy is gone. Because what do I have to look forward to, now?

Buying things is another baby carrot. It is hard to live in the now, especially after years of conditioning as a child to cling to something to look forward to as your motivation. My 4-year old daughter is constantly telling me the things she will do when she grows up (which to her is when she turns five). It reminds me of how much of our youth we squander wanting to grow up. And then we squander the rest of our lives trying to find something else to look forward to or moping about the past.

Is it even possible to live totally in the now? Everything seems so geared towards the future. Clocks and calendars rule our lives. Our lives revolve around meeting some kind of schedule. Sometimes I think the only way you could possible live totally in the now would be to be stranded on a desert island. But I suppose even then, you'd be thinking about being rescued and ordering things on Amazon.com.

I'm not even sure what now is. We actually seem to be constantly moving between the past and the future with now being the Jello you are trying to pin to the wall. You can always look back on the now, the future now is always a bit fuzzy and frankly more appealing. Because you are never sure what it is going to be like and you can imagine it anyway you want.

Which leads me once again back to wondering where it all ultimately ends up. Because isn't the ultimate carrot on the stick attached to the Grim Reaper's scythe?

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