Tomorrow I’ll clean the bathroom. I’ll write that letter… tomorrow. I’ll start my diet… tomorrow. There are so many ways in which we lie to ourselves instead of facing up to the fact that we don’t want to do what needs to be done! The good news is that it’s all right to not “want” to do it; what is not all right is to lie to oneself by saying we’ll do it tomorrow when somewhere deep down we know we’ll say the same thing tomorrow because we won’t want to do it tomorrow any more than we don’t want to do it today! Tomorrow has a way of never arriving; there is only today. So the issue at the heart of this tug-of-war with tomorrow is really: accepting what reality says has to be done NOW, regardless of how that demand makes us feel.
Unfortunately, the commodities-driven culture in which we live neither encourages nor facilitates acceptance of what we don’t like; “Let’s Make A Deal” is not just a television show, it is the mindset of the business-oriented culture into which we are born and by whose hands we are formed. That culture leads us to believe that Life is about bargaining and about getting the best deal. We are left with the belief that if we bargain long enough… without blinking… we will not only get the best deal but also get whatever it is that we want. As a result our almost constant and yet unconscious attitude of bargaining with life prevents us from growing up… emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Maturation begins to occur, by degrees, as we begin to make our decisions based not upon how we feel but upon what needs to be done, no matter what we might feel about what has to be done. The really good news is that when we stop finding excuses for the wreckage of our life we can finally find a way forward in our life!
One might be tempted to say this is just old-person speak! Well, perhaps that is true since I am 66, which for someone 18 qualifies as “old”; nonetheless, this does not mean that this observation about the conflict between our feelings and Life’s demands upon us is not true. When we oldsters were young we also were more prone to being reckless because we had nothing to lose; now that we are older many of us have learned… painfully… the cost of living and loving recklessly! Living long enough teaches you to become more cautious because you know how precious Life is, how precious a beloved is, and how easily they can be destroyed due to the short-sightedness of immaturity! In the end, like it or not, some damage can also be irreversible. Over time we oldsters have come to see that Life basically doesn’t care what we want, what we think or what we feel about things: It demands a certain compliance and It won’t accept the delusion that comes with bargaining because, in the end, not “feeling fat” does not mean that we are thin!