Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein
We all know Albert Einstein was a brilliant man. He was also a wise man. This quote is one of my favorites, especially the first sentence. I can't think of a better approach to life.
I don't make formal New Year's resolutions, but I'd like to take this advice to heart in 2015. Parts of it will come easily; others not so much. "Hope for tomorrow" is already part of my natural make-up. I've always been the eternal optimist. I don't need any help there.
"Live for today" is something I've been working on since early last year. I haven't mastered it because looking ahead is such a driving force in my personality, but I'm trying. 2014 was a watershed year for me. After our big trek west, we finally moved into our new house in March. Unfortunately, the stress of so many major changes took a toll on my husband. While I naturally focus ahead in life, he always looks back. By the time we finally moved in he had worked himself into such a state that he had stroke. (You might think that's just a figure of speech, but it's actually possible.)
I pride myself on my equanimity; I can usually remain calm under the most difficult circumstances. But after things finally settled down I developed a stress-induced cardiac arrhythmia. It's not dangerous, but it's uncomfortable and a constant reminder of the need to keep stress under control. On top of all that, I turned sixty last year. Talk about sobering.
I could also do a better job of learning from yesterday. Because I naturally look ahead and am working on staying in the present, the past sometimes gets short shrift. Once something happens, I dismiss it and move on. That's great for dealing with uncomfortable or painful situations but not so great for dissecting experiences and learning from them. I'll try to do better this year.
Then there's the second sentence of the quote: "The important thing is to not stop questioning." I'm not so sure about that one. Einstein was a scientist, so an inquiring mind was essential to his work. I want to stay curious, but for my life, I think cultivating acceptance might be even more important.
Einstein's quote also reminds me of another favorite, one I strive to take to heart:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ~ Lao Tzu
Peace doesn't sound too bad right about now.