In the years since I first read “Notes to Myself” by Hugh Prather, my life has “happened.” It’s easy to took back and feel regret for what was abandoned or never realized, and to want time back so different decisions could be made. Regret, a by-product of living and of aging, is useful, though. It reminds us that all we can really do is live in the present and with right intention. Prather’s words remind me to do that, and to use all the skill and experience I have to create now.
If I had only …
forgotten future greatness
and looked at green things and the buildings
and reached out to those around me
and smelled the air
and ignored the forms and the self-styled obligations
and heard the rain on the roof
and put my arms around …
…it’s not too late
…it’s morning. I have been given
another day. Another day to hear and read
and smell and walk and love and glory
I am alive for another day.
Today, I don’t want to live for,
I want to live.
Anxiety is the realization that I might not reach the
rung on the opinion-ladder which I have
just set for myself. I fear death most
when I am about to exceed what others
expect of me; then death threatens to
cut me off from myself, because
“myself” is not yet.
Meaning does not exist in the future
and neither do I …
Hugh Prather wrote Notes to Myself in 1970.