Let's forget about tomorrow
Last updated 10/21/2020 at 2:52pm | View PDF
Funny how a pandemic can mess with a person's sense of time. It seems like those days in mid-March were last week and also 10 years ago. I have a close friend who said that now "every day is Tuesday": not days to be anticipated like weekend days, nor days to be dreaded like Mondays. Every day indistinct enough to be a Tuesday.
Time confusion isn't unique to 2020 though. Those of us with children have always known about the time warp known as parenthood. When our kids were young, we were given the advice given to every new parent by so many older, wiser parents: enjoy this moment, savor each day, the time goes quickly. But you can't grasp it fully until you live it, right? How the hours can drag like days, but the weeks fly like minutes. Until you find yourself with adult children and you look back and remember said advice and wonder why you didn't Just. Slow. Down.
In fact, my first column for The Hinsdalean involved a professor with a bunch of different sized rocks. He explained how the largest rocks, representing life's most fundamental priorities, could fill a big vase, which represented our life. Then he poured smaller rocks, symbolizing less meaningful time demands (think errands, details, and obligations) into the vase and these obscured the larger ones, becoming our focus.
So you see, I've wrestled with the concept of time, well, for quite some time. But in the wrestling, I was preoccupied, fretting. Too much in my head and not enough in the present.
And then the world stopped. Jobs were suspended. Kids came home. Relatives stayed away. Friends become virtual.
And everything we had learned about time became irrelevant.
Instead, we learned that the worry and preparation of yesterday might be not be worth much today - and worth even less tomorrow. That healthy loved ones may become critically ill in a matter of hours. That a "semester" might be a six-month extension of spring break. Future travel plans, painstakingly made with so much excitement, can evaporate into "Who knows when?"
The past doesn't hold the memories we thought it would, the future doesn't promise us what we think it should, days drag and months fly, and all we are left with is Tuesday.
To make matters worse, every day presents something potentially catastrophic: racial injustice, opportunistic rioting, political instability. Wildfires. Pandemics. We are reeling and our sense of security is shot. How can we possibly prepare for next week in this off-kilter world?
Tomorrow isn't promised, and if it does come, who knows what it might hold? Hopefully, it will hold peace and health and prosperity, but we can't be sure.
Instead, we can exist in today. We can love in today. We can forgive and support and laugh and encourage in today.
We can only be are sure about today. We should give it our full attention.
- Kelly Abate Kallas of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected]