By Safa Hajjaj December 18, 2015
Before coming to Atlas Corps Fellowship, I made a promise to myself.
For people who knew me over the years, close friends or people who were curious to seek the deepest side of me, they will all say that Safa has lived most of her past in the future and although she was alive and vibrant in the present, her thoughts have always been about the future.
I can’t help it. But I am a visionary. I see years ahead and picture how the world should be. my brain processes sometimes like if I’m playing chess and it visualizes all steps and consequences and impact under a virtual map format. I just can’t help it. and I love it. but that means that I also miss being 100% present in the moment and enjoying the fullness of being Here and NOW.
I was aware of that. and unfortunately until today my jobs haven’t required that skill or at least haven’t really used its full potential. So being a strategist or a visionary seemed to be either a curse or just an illusion since it wasn’t put into practice.
So before coming to the US, I made a promise to myself. I promised that I will learn how to LIVE HERE AND NOW. I have now lived 17 months in Washington DC, and I think for at least 12 months I could live the HERE but couldn’t help not being distracted to live the NOW. but these last 3 weeks, have been a complete NOW moments. I finally could experiment what it feels to live your next 16 hours when you’re up, enjoy your sleep and not make any plans for more than 24h.
It was an amazing exercise for the mind to appreciate the moments we live, the time we spend with people, the efforts you make today, the health you have, the laughters, the talks and get the best out of the day not without building the future because living the NOW I figured it doesn’t mean to ignore the future and not plan for it. but living the NOW means that your should worry less about the future, prepare for it but don’t worry about it. Work hard today but stop making assumptions about the results, just think that if things don’t go as planned, there must a way around.
Living the NOW, means also Love unconditionally and not get mad at people for what they do or feel about you. Think that tomorrow you may lose them and that will tell you how you should feel about them today, you will realize that all what you want is to love them then you forget about blaming them and every time you seem them you treat them as if you met for first time and last time, you spend that time with them at its fullness you know them more, you love them more, you allow yourself to be vulnerable front of them and you tell them how you feel because the future may never come again to afford that.
Living the HERE and NOW, made me love myself more, appreciate who I am, worry less about who I want to become because I am already being who I want and because being who I want to be is happening HERE and NOW and I have to enjoy that process and journey till I get there, there is no reason to worry much about the future and what will happen. Of course it is important to plan and to understand the consequences of your moves and decisions, but please don’t take life too seriously to the point that it makes you lose moments and then realize that you lived in the past and kept waiting for that future to happen but in between you were in a waiting room and you grew old doing that.
Thinking of the future shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the present.
Think of how many good non-harmful things you stopped yourself from doing because you thought it’s maybe not what fits the perfect picture you have of how your future should look like? Think of how many pennies you saved instead of enjoying traveling because you are saving for your death? Think of how many words you wrote then erased because you don’t want any track of such conversation or because you’re scared to be vulnerable sharing your true feelings? How many words were erased? How many new things you could learn or try but you were afraid of the consequences in the future if people knew you did them or tried them? How many times you forgot that you’re not here forever nor those people who are going to judge you? How many times the worry about the future frozen your thoughts, dreams and actions of today? How many times we haven’t used the future as driver for living the present but in a less stressful way? but instead it drives us towards limitations?
In the day you want to balance living in these 3 tenses: Past, Present and Future. but make sure you get the most out of the second one, because that’s the one you’re most likely in control of, that’s the one that is really happening and you can impact.
A person from the present.