future-tense present

Time is just racing onwards and with barely a present-tense glance, I'm running too. School is just a downpour of reading and assignments and some presentations... And everything is packed with doing and producing. I'm feeling a little worn by the whole thing. It's to be expected I suppose. I'm even writing this at school, in the Uplink room off the (Jimmy) Buffeteria and I had to wait in a lineup to get a computer, and I think somebody is eating cake because I can smell its sweetness. On either side of me, there are people doing assignments and scrolling through pages of text readings, some with charts and graphs and tables of information, all laid out neatly in the standard academic type. Then there's the guy in the corner who is slumped against the wall watching soccer highlights and online skate videos. It's all research, of course. And no one looks to the right or left because that would be rude. So there's rows and rows of us, just sitting, staring intently at our screens, the buzz of fluorescent lights above, on all the exposed pipes and electrical cords snaking over the roof.

In the back of my mind I'm thinking about the Reflection Paper I have to write tonight, which won't be especially hard (I console myself), but will still take a couple hours to do. Two hours from now, I'll be sitting down in Storied Lives to talk about Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies, and I'm sure it'll run in circles and I'll feel tremendously frustrated by the end of the three hours. And then there's half an hour from now, when I'll be meeting with one of my professors about the presentation that's coming up next Wednesday--just to say, is this okay, will that work for class? And I'm not even especially feeling the words I type just now, or even retrospectively savouring the breakfast I had with Steve this morning. Even walking to school, I couldn't roll in the now; I couldn't settle into the regular walk and just enjoy this transitory journey. My life is anticipation and planning; it's looking at the next thing that's happening and trying to play my cards right, trying to clear Wednesday night, or planning the paper that I'm confused about so I have something to say when I talk to my prof about it. The "will" and "should" are commanding all the attention and dragging me forwards. I'm living the present in future-tense.

So, let's see... The whole point of this thing, this existence, is simply to be. It's to pay attention to the present moment because there's something holy about this present moment. There is something sacred in slowing down, in the silence of a quiet soul. There needs to be some attention paid to the future, to what's coming next, but never at the expense of the present. I would think there needs to be a balance. And I wonder if the whole world is built in such a way as to be merely anticipatory, neglecting the present heartbeat, the current of now, and simply consumed with doing whatever needs to be done next. Or maybe there are seasons in life, and this is one of school stress and anticipation and production and soaking up learning... My mind runs on ahead of me, eager to consume itself, because the completion of the next thing to be done is one less thing that will need to be done. And maybe then I'll be able to relax and be.

Of course, it's all very well and good. The learning is a rushing flow that I'm happily tapping into, and it's hard not to be carried on ahead of myself. But, it's all very good to be in the flow. All things considered, the student's life is a pretty good life. I just don't have a moment--