The best periods in my life are marked by the sense that every day is a new field of opportunities waiting to be seized.
The most trying (and least healthy) periods in my life are marked by the sense that every day is a new series of tests that must be passed and hardships that must be survived.
It is necessary that I find some technology by which to assert an equivalence between the two, by which to prove to myself that such an equivalence exists. Once I understand at a deep level that these things are identical, I will never again have trying (or less healthy) periods in my life.
For my wife, the future slides seamlessly into the present. The “now” and the “then” lie along an entirely unmagical and uninteresting continuum. You say to yourself “I will do it” and then you “do it” and then it is “done.”
Future -> Present -> Past
Seems very simple.
For me, however, this is a strange and transcendental operation that I can not yet reliably carry out; it is rather like the turtle that walks halfway to the lake, then halfway again, then halfway again. The distance can be halved an infinite number of times, yet the turtle arrives at the lake; he has thus carried out an infinite number of tasks, yet in finite time.
In calculus, limits take care of this, but in the creaky human consciousness—my creaky human consciousness—this is unfathomable. I seem to plan infinitely and remember infinitely. My present is inevitably filled with planning and remembering.
I am completely unsure how anything at all happens, and it seems strange and miraculous to me that a future should actually “arrive” at a present and then “become” a past.
In fact, this is one of my greatest weaknesses. Not “procrastination” per se, but the inability to find the moment at which “now” begins—the moment at which one acts.
At times I feel as though I spend my entire life waiting for this moment. It is coming; it is right there; the anticipation is unbearable; the air is pregnant with waiting.
Then my wife walks in and says “Well, do it!” and somehow in that moment the future magically becomes the present; her statement marks the beginning of “now.”
It seems a peculiar sort of mental shortcoming that I find myself wondering whether, in the absence of my wife, I would spend the rest of my life waiting for time to begin, never once realizing that it began without me and is sliding past and away, out of sight.