The only thing we have is the present moment.
There’s truth that these words are easy to dismiss. That the gravity of this sentiment can be instead seen as a shallow platitude, or cliché. But it’s in fact the most important principle you could live by.
Now is now. It doesn’t matter how badly you fucked up a ten years ago, or yesterday. The only thing for certain is what’s immediately in front of us. The only thing we can change is how we are, right now.
There are moments when I really feel like I’m snapping into the moment, like I’m coming up for air from underwater, gasping in somewhat-horror that I was underneath for so long without realizing it.
The past is just a story we tell ourselves.
Productivity is a scam.
My entire life is a constant, never-ending struggle. I suspect this is the case for many. Scientifically speaking, we are hard-wired to be lazy. To survive while expending as little caloric energy as possible — to take the path of least resistance. To do otherwise is to try to violate the thermodynamic property of entropy, that is not an easy task.
There is universal safety and comfort in doing what’s easy, and what provides short-term happiness. In avoiding the difficult work that comes with resisting our natural lack of innate drive.
However, there’s something about this that is never talked about. That this is not black or white. It is not, as some might want you to believe, lazy vs. productive. There is complex nuance to this. There are varying degrees to the amount of pressure we can put on ourselves.
We can easily place ourselves in the illusion of doing work easily. We can work out instead of playing video games. We can practice an instrument instead of scrolling through memes. We can get a job instead of being unemployed.
The above may seem confusing, maybe even uncomfortable to think about. The conventional idea of productivity is that it’s directly connected with bettering ourselves. Whether that means creating something with value or improving ourselves somehow.
But the value of what we create is not inherent, it’s derived from a market. And when we improve ourselves, it’s through the lens of what’s conventionally more accepted or attractive within society. Perhaps we do this in an attempt to strive for acceptance or proving ourselves to others.
An attempt to find peace with who I am.
“These actions are not essentially difficult; it is we ourselves that are soft and flabby.” –Seneca
The Human Distillery
When you take a step back, the greatest of people in history are a distillery. The most talented and hard-working of people often produce only a handful (or even just one piece) of great work or events that are noteworthy. The rare and devoted few actually go through a great person’s minutiae–hundreds of thousands of small pieces that were completed daily to work towards that great work.
There is a deep conviction required for this. To spend hours per day working towards something bigger, something that might instead fail quietly. As well as the remarkable forethought to understand what needs to be worked on, and in what order.
Though, perhaps there isn’t such planning. Rather, these great works instead are conjured up organically by a repeating persistence and habitual work. Regardless, the conviction is still there.
For myself, personally, I find I’m only able to recognize a completed project in hindsight–I do not go about working on tasks with the plan being that there’s going to be a neat, finished-product once I’m done. This has only occurred a handful of times, anyways. Whether it’s my early photography, music, art, or this blog itself.
I don’t believe these projects are impressive or noteworthy by any means, but it’s nice to see that I’m able to accomplish something at all.
I’m getting older now–I just turned 24, hence this birthday post–and I cannot help but to feel a drive to do more, and to work harder, to be a noteworthy person. This is not motivated out of ego, as it sounds like, but rather a growing sense that I need to take my time and actions seriously.