The days fly by without asking our permission, and sometimes we can feel the drag of routine and the drag of repetition—a “drag” expressed profoundly by Shakespeare’s Macbeth:
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day.”
Harriet Martineau, the British social theorist, (often called the first woman sociologist) offered a succinctly-worded antidote to this sense of drag in life:
“You better live your best and act your best and think your best today, for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow.”
To paraphrase: Treat today as a dress rehearsal for the future you want.
You want a joyful future? Look for and be open to joy in the moments, the work, the challenges and the personal interactions you have today.
You want a kind, loving future? Practice acts of love and kindness today.
You want some wisdom in your future? Take time to listen for the voice of wisdom today.
You want a future where you’ll feel your life has mattered? Do something that matters today. Make that call you’ve been neglecting. Start that novel. Forgive…or tell someone you’re sorry.
You want a future where you’ll feel you have truly lived? Live today.
Of course, I suppose it could work the other way as well.
You want a boring future? Go ahead and be bored today.
You want a life that is taken for granted? Take today for granted.
Here’s the point: the daily routine is all we’ve got. Life is either found there, or it’s not found.
As Dr. Samuel Johnson said:
“We purchase the future with the present.”