155 Living in the Moment

Living Now

I explore the important topic of living in the moment, inspired by a book I read recently. Living in the moment and not spending all our time worrying about the past or future is the key to a happy life (I believe!) and also makes a lot of sense when related to learning English.

I hope you find value in this episode.


“We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight.

We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly flee the only one that is. The fact is that the present usually hurts. We thrust it out of sight because it distresses us, and if we find it enjoyable, we are sorry to see it slip away. We try to give it the support of the future, and think how we are going to arrange things over which we have no control for a time we can never be sure of reaching.

Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.”

– Blaise Pascal

There will always be causes for anxiety, whether due to prosperity or to wretchedness. Life will be driven on through a succession of preoccupations: we shall always long for leisure, but never enjoy it.

Indeed the state of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but the most wretched are those who are toiling not even at their own preoccupations, but must regulate their sleep by another’s, and their walk by another’s pace, and obey orders in those freest of all things, loving and hating. If such people want to know how short their lives are, let them reflect how small a portion is their own.

Some men, after they have crawled through a thousand indignities to the supreme dignity, have been assailed by the gloomy thought that all their labour were but for the sake of an epitaph.

Whatever is best for a human being lies outside human control: it can be neither given nor taken away. The world you see, nature’s greatest and most glorious creation, and the human mind which gazes and wonders at it, and is the most splendid part of it, these are our own everlasting possessions and will remain with us as long as we ourselves remain.

– Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

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7 thoughts on “#155 How to Live in the Moment”

  1. Thank you for putting into words my thoughts exactly. I work as an early childhood educator in kindergarten where our board has embraced “play-based learning”. This has become a term for teacher-directed, agenda-driven learning centers disguised as fun, playful games. This is not real play. We are robbing our children of meaningful learning that comes from rich, deep, child-led play.

    1. Hi! I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to, but you’re welcome to use any of my free content online for whatever you like (as long as people don’t pretend they are me!) Thanks!

  2. As an unschooler I think children are perfectly capable of educating themselves and don’t see a need for adult-led ‘play’ or learning unless it is requested. Adults play an important role of course but to me it’s more of a support/help/facilitator role, not teacher or leader.

  3. What I’m saying is play-based learning isn’t ‘teaching kids through play’. It’s recognising that play alone IS learning, we don’t have to do anything to it. Yes, kids can learn through teaching too. So just call it that, teaching.

  4. Yes and… What do you do when you just can’t convince the parents that play based learning is meaningful. I teach Pre-K. Every year I have parents who are anxious and adamant that their child should be having daily reading instruction. I think this is poppycock but I’m not reaching them when I explain the importance of play. ☹️

    1. That’s a really good question! I don’t have a great answer, to be honest. That’s one of the reasons I moved away from teaching children, because I found it challenging to balance doing what the children wanted with what the parents wanted.
      Perhaps you could make it very clear before taking on new students that your lessons are based around play and show them some studies that it’s an effective way to learn. Then it will be up to them to accept you as a teacher or not. I suppose clear communication about the expectations is key.

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