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Past, Present, Future

Message in a Bottle #13

A man recently said to me, (unsolicited) “The future is fear and the past is regret.”

I love when people come into my booth at shows and tell me about their lives, strangers become a little less estranged and I don’t have to be the one talking the whole time. I’ve never been one to have to dominate conversations and knowing they’ll be reading my words for hours to come (if they buy my book and take Kiara and Hadyn home with them) I am more than happy to listen to them for a few minutes.

However, every once in a while, a stranger comes along that is particularly strange, and they say a lot of strange stuff.

“The future is fear and the past is regret,” this particular man said, along with many other much more peculiar ideas which belong to their own Message in a Bottle, if I’m being honest.

This man went as far to say neither are real (past and future) and the only thing that exists is the present. He shared his regrets that nobody lives in it. While I agree, yes, it’s rare for people to live in the now and we need to be doing more of it, I thought that was a rather depressing way of looking at life.

Again, the future can be fear, and the past can be regret. But they are so much more than that. The future is hope, dreams, things we look forward to, the playground for our wonder to gallivant throughout like carefree children.

The past is nostalgia, past loves, memories we return to fondly for good reason; it is lessons learned and proof of our growth. The past is something I think of as a home or an old friend. I tend to dwell there a little too much maybe, and not so much in the future. I've never been very good at seeing where I’ll be in years to come or what I’ll have, hence why most of my books are written as I go. I’m not a plotter, I’m not a list maker.

But maybe we’re not supposed to disregard either as fake. Even if I tend to spend more time in one than the other, both are very real to me. But maybe if we keep them in their respective confines of time, knowing the here and now is, in fact, the most important of the three, see them as gifts to the you that breathes today, maybe we’d all be a little more present.

To respect the past, live in the present, and dream of the future, that is what it means to be truly human, to be alive, thinking, reminiscing, dreaming, and breathing.

So thank you, sir. Though I found most of what you said borderline crazy, you got me thinking a lot. And I tend to like to think.

It’s been a while again since I wrote one of these. But just this weekend the kindest person told me just how much these little messages mean to them. And that, dear reader, encouraged me more than you know. Thank you.

Fair winds, following seas, and God bless, friends.



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