Living in the Now
Dementia is a demon, which robs one of the past and gives little hope for the future. It comes like a thief in the night, its cape capturing your short-term memory, enveloping it in a shroud of nothingness… One who lives with short-term memory loss lives in the moment…and then that moment is gone…and another takes its place.
I’ve been living with a moderate amount of short-term memory loss for over seven years now. Having vascular dementia, I have a much better prognosis than those having other types of dementia. However, my short-term memory is so short that I have come to realize that I, too, live in the moment…not FOR the moment. It is anything but an idealized state to be in…nothing about it is romantic…It is what is it is—the moment, that is. And then there is nothing left behind of the moment, as though it never existed.
One of my favorite quotes is from Winnie the Pooh himself:
“What day is it?”
“It’s today!” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day!” said Pooh. (A.A. Milne)
That is what living my life is like now. I live IN the moment. I enjoy it or learn from it (maybe) or hate it…and then it’s gone and I am in a new moment. A new experience. One I will probably not remember ten minutes or an hour or a day later…
I could romanticize it as Eckhart Tolle: “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
Now, that sentiment may have been important to me in the distant past, when I still had the CHOICE to make the NOW the primary focus of my life. However, NOW I have NO CHOICE. The NOW is now and there is little of anything else around it. And that is just how it is. I can’t change it.
I live with it. I live with the NOW and listen to others who tell me about the recent past.
Living in the NOW affects many other areas of my life. I’ve said in previous blogs (I think) that getting dressed is just short of going shopping in my closet every day. Mostly everything looks new to me. In fact, living in the NOW, I sometimes find myself wondering WHO bought some of these clothes. It certainly couldn’t have been me!!! They’re ugly!! They’re…frilly!!! Yes, recently I have even just given away some of those yucky clothes to Goodwill!
Another area where living in the NOW really affects me is when I am a passenger in the car. It seems that to get to any little town from my house takes 35-45 minutes, one way. I’ve seen the scenery countless times, yet remember very little. So now, with each trip I set a goal. One trip, I looked at all the back yards. Another trip, I looked for ornamental grasses. And on another, I looked at each roof, taking note of its color, angles, etc. I know it is of little use to look for these things, as I won’t remember much of it…however, it does prove to be almost endless enjoyment…taking each moment and letting it go…only to find a new moment...