Now & Later: Not Just a Candy

View from an airplane window at the wings and flying over a scenic landscape of green hills and rivers
Now! Later!
What do I want, now? What is important to me, now? What can I have, now? We need to send this to the board Now. We have to do that now. Buy me that, now. I’m busy right now. Can you take me to the skateboard park now? Now…this moment…immediately…impatient…I’ll-die-if-I-can’t-get-it-right-now. And it’s all a bit confusing at times because there are, in fact, glimmers of the opposite; the close cousins of “Now” who are named “In a minute,” “Later,” “I’ll Get To It,” “Let’s Send the Matter to a Committee,” “We Will Do That When We Have the Money,” and “Wait.”

I am struck by the push and pull between Now and Later [insert *smile* here as I recall the taffy-like candy of my childhood called”Now & Later”…remember?]. How do we make the distinction between what is trying to happen Now and what is unfolding for Later? Do we prioritize in order to simply complete tasks of the moment or is there more to it? How aware are we of the sequencing of tasks Now in service to something else Later? For example, if I do this and this Now, I can then have (or be, feel, experience, get, go to, etc.) Later. Is success always deferred?

My daily experience in my life and in my coaching practice is with people challenged by Now and Later. The struggle is with finding deep fulfillment in Now while acting in ways that also guarantees some sort of fulfillment Later. It’s not enough to be stuck in a challenging Now with only the hope that Later will be better. Nor is it sustainable to be in a really satisfying Now if there is a cloud of doom hanging over you because you fear Later will be horrible. Can we have both? Can we be both fulfilled Now and Later? What would it take?

I wonder: What would it be like to deeply enjoy my teenage son’s young life and our relationship
Now while also holding his bright, exciting, possibility-driven future Later? (the challenge here is that his teenage life and our relationship is often filled with challenges, conflict, hormone mood swings, homework battles, and a profound push and pull). For the founders of non-profit organizations I work with, what would it be like to fully engage in the challenge and the ugliness and the fear of Now as an essential part of the process while also holding the Later? Long-range strategic planning does not ground you in the challenge you have and the impact you make Now. What if the Now was actually an end and not the means to an end? Would we try to make it count?
Spouse and I did all of our estate planning yesterday. We sat with the lawyers and signed reams of documents and talked about lots of tragic scenarios in order to grasp the complexities of the legalese. And what I learned so richly in this experience is that I do not want to lose the feeling I have Now of being prepared, feeling secure, being planful. I know Now that should a tragedy occur, everything is fine. I get the satisfaction now of having done really important life work and my family will have the satisfaction of ease and clarity Later when the documents are actually needed.

There is richness to explore both Now and Later.

Enjoy the day!


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