‘Live for the moment.” “This is the only time you have.”
We have all heard these statements, statements of an undeniable but insufficient truth. How we live now will have powerful implications for our lives in the days and years that follow. Since the odds are pretty good that now will not actually be the only moment we will ever have, don’t live as if it were.
Better to take reflection on the past and anticipation of the future and weave them into consideration of the present. When the Torah advises us to “consider the days of old, the generations long past” (Deut. 32:7), it is actually giving advice about now. When it advises us on how to live in the years to come, to raise children or face death, it is also advising about now. We live in an indivisible stream. Consider it as “train wisdom”: “Where are you?” “On the way from Philly to N.Y.” Where we are is a function of where we have been as well as where we are going. As Antigonos of Socho teaches in the Mishna, consider your origin and your destination. Then you will know the true power of now.