Margaret Storm Jameson, the English author, once expressed the view that we all spend too much time living in the past, feeling
regret for lost joys or shame for things badly done. Even when our minds turn to the future, she said, we spend an inordinate
amount of time longing for it or dreading it. "The only way to live," she said, "is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable
miracle . . . Work at your work. Play at your play. Shed your tears. Enjoy your laughter. Now is the time of your life."
Bits and Pieces, July, 1991.
We do not rest satisfied with the present. We anticipate that future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten its
course; or we recall the past, to stop its too rapid flight. So imprudent are we that we dream of those times which are no more, and thoughtlessly
overlook that which alone exists. For the present is generally painful to us. We conceal
it from our sight, because it troubles us; and if it be delightful to us, we regret to see it pass away. We try to sustain it by the future, and think of
rearranging matters which are not in our power, for a time which we have no certainty of
Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present; and if we
think of it, it is only to take light from it to arrange the future. The present is never
our end. So we never live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be
happy, it is inevitable we should never be so.
Blaise Pascal, Pascal's Pensees, (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co.,
1958), pp. 49-50.