One of the wonderful things about learning another language is the chance to see things differently. Thinking about the present in French leads me to appreciate fully the dual nature of this expression. The present moment – l’instant présent – is indeed a gift.
In case you think I’m going all philosophical on you, rest assured. I’m on holiday at the moment; hence my current fascination with the now. The stopping of clocks, the forgetting of what day it is. A momentary meditation on tree branches dancing in the wind, the clink of my coffee cup in the saucer, the sensation of sand between my toes. Suddenly there is no time like the present.
Daily I struggle with the demon of time. If I ignore it, the silly bugger has a way of sneaking up on me. “What? It’s ten o’clock already? Where did the time go?” If I obsess about it, time is a monkey on my back. Cracking his whip, urging me to go faster, to hurry up and move on to the next thing. Get it done. Then what?
The solution, as ever, lies somewhere in between. Set goals for the important stuff, stick to a schedule some of the time, forget about it for the rest. I’m not sure time can be managed in any real sense. What I do know is that it is our only currency. It can’t be saved but it can be spent wisely. A moment can be stretched almost to eternity if we allow ourselves to wander there.
So excuse me while I slip into l’instant présent. The weather is nice and I may decide to stay awhile.