The moment and the long game
There are always two timelines going on in my head. The one that exists right now. The momentary experience and immediate future, or past. And then there is the long game. The year, the 5 years, the future when I am ‘all grown up’.
After losing faith in the long game and in the ability to plan for pretty much anything a few years ago (Thanks Covid for reinforcing this) I have sought to live in the moment. Making decisions for right now, for maybe next week and the most for the next 6 months. Nothing permanent everything changeable. All steps could be taken in the right direction and then the course could change and I could change with it. Because really I haven’t trodden too deeply in any path. Everything is up for grabs. Where I live, What I do for work, the way I see myself, Perhaps the only thing that had more consistency was the people who I love deeply who I hold fiercely to but even in a move to a different place I have reconciled that people are in your life for phases and as we move through them sometimes we get to keep people other times we don’t.
But more and more I recognise whilst there are many benefits to living in the moment there are also a lot of draw backs especially when it comes to the things that require tenacity, perseverance and discomfort. Discomfort in the long game. It is the best friend of making change. The long game is the motivation to move through discomfort of doing the thing to get to the next thing, that will still probably only be a building block. It is choosing a daily run rather than 1hr extra in bed, it is choosing to work when I would rather go out and see friends. It is choosing to find motivation in persevering through the hard moments to find more growth on the other side. Because things only tend to get done when you ‘steal the hours from comfort’ as Derek Sivers so eloquently puts it.
But to make those hours seem worthwhile we have to believe in the long game as well. Not just in the moment. Live in the moment but create for the long term as well. I realise we have too much on our to do lists for this month and not enough for the next two years.
Balls to the Wall honesty the thought of planning for the next two years makes me want to throw up in my mouth. Because we all know what I plan now and the world in 2 years are going to be vastly different. So why work for it? Why steal from comfort today for a tomorrow that might not exist? For a tomorrow that won’t go to plan?
Well, I think it is not easy to do this, but it is what gives us ambitions that are grander, it makes life feel a little larger and change feel a bit more possible. Because in the next month I am not going to speak Spanish fluently, make a significant impact on equality or sustainability, I am not going to accomplish my grandest of ambitions, I am not going to help change the world a little bit for the better. But in 2 years I might have done something that has made a difference, I might be able to hold a whole conversation with you in Spanish (should you wish to have one) and I might be able to look back and feel glad that even though the plan wasn’t the plan I grew something in the hours of discomfort that I would never have found had I decided to flip my behaviour based on a moment.
Of course we do not want to forgo the now forever in waylay of the future. Because it doesn’t exist and like I said the chances of it turning out how you think is slim to none. So it is not about ignoring when you don’t feel great or feel uncomfortable but rather recognising that feeling bad for 30 mins often doesn’t mean feeling bad for a day or even a week or month. Sometimes it does and you need to choose to change the moment but other times I think growing up is stepping back and dropping into the discomfort with the knowledge that there is balance in treading the line between the moment and the long game. Neither perfect, but both at the very crux of what it is to be alive. And what better place could there be.
Because it is from that place that you might just make something marvellous happen.