Every passing minute.
When I first heard this line, in the movie Vanilla Sky, it struck a powerful chord in me. Sure, it's a sentiment I'd heard countless times before, that at any given moment you could set changes in motion that would alter the course of your life. But something about the phrasing. Every passing minute. It's immediate, it's powerful, it's crucial and present. It's right this minute.
It doesn't break your destiny into flows of days or months. It's not, "This month you could change everything." What is a month anyway, an amalgam of moments and days, good moods and bad, energy and lethargy? A month is impossible to get your arms around, impossible to master and control. Even a day has that vast quality, with its moments of sadness and hope and the many mundane things that we artificially lump into a whole.
But a minute. This minute. This passing minute. Right now.
It's the only thing we control and the one thing we overlook so completely and consistently. We spend our days thinking and dreaming of the future, or dreading what's to come, and regretting and remembering days gone by. And in the process we forget this precious minute, this lovely second, the one in which you move and breathe. Right now.
Right now, you could get up from where you are and you could leave everything behind. You could buy a one-way plane ticket and go somewhere new. Right now you could call that person you haven't talked to in years. Right now you could propose that crazy idea to your boss or to that company you want to work for, or to that person you've imagined could finance your dream. Right now you could seek out a homeless person and have a conversation over a meal. Right now.
Of course you probably won't do any of those things. You'll probably keep doing whatever you were doing a minute ago, and what you'll be doing next minute. The only thing that's certain about this minute is that it's passing. It's passing you by and will never be back.
Accepting and understanding that truth fully gives you a fluidity, a momentum, like understanding that one day the body you now cherish and inhabit will no longer have motion and breath or the pulse of life. At first blush this may seem counterintuitive, that knowing you'll die and that this minute will never come should paralyze and frighten you. But, contemplated fully, it will actually give you energy and drive like nothing else. Because measured against that stark and immovable truth, all the things that hold you back are puny and inconsequential. A disapproving mate or family. Financial circumstances. Even all the collected and disjointed moments which you regard as your "past" actually pale and tremble at this truth. One day all this will be nothing.
And still you have this passing minute.
It is your only hook, the thing you can grab onto to seek out joy and fulfillment and fame and stardom. This passing minute.
Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around. Just what can you grab and turn around in this one tiny minute anyway? Possessed with the image of stopping an oncoming truck, grabbing it by a corner and physically turning it around, you may imagine the puniness of this minute compared with the screeching 18-wheeler that is where you've been and where you're going. How can you grab hold of that in this one tiny, fragile passing minute?
But the truth is that this passing minute is all we have. If your life has been a speeding 18-wheeler bent on destruction, only right now can you do anything about it.
But how? First, by deciding, and that's a powerful action you can take at this very moment. You can decide. Decide you'll be rich, or that you'll leave this miserable job, or this mate that makes you feel unhappy and alone. Don't worry about how that will happen, because it won't happen in this passing minute, but in a collection of minutes, as the result of actions taken in sequence. But the decision comes right now. Quickly! The minute is passing.
Then in this minute, the one that follows the minute in which you made your decision, you will outline what you need to do. Perhaps you can complete your whole dream right in this minute. Perhaps you can walk into your boss' office and resign right now. But chances are you'll need to plan, make another series of decisions.
And of those plans, at least ONE of them are something you can do right now. Buy the paper to look for a new job. Make a phone call to that long-lost friend.
One thing. Now. Action vs. contemplation. The crux of the matter, the difference between people who consider themselves happy and contented vs. those who are thwarted and resentful is that the happy ones acted, simply acted, while the thwarted ones contemplated. It doesn't even matter is the action is "right," or causes the intended result, just that it ends the inertia and fuzziness of inaction.
Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around. Where will you take this minute? What decision will you make? What action will you take that will lead you down the path you desire? One thing. Right now. Go do it.
About The Author
Maria E. Andreu is a coach who helps people get brave ? and live big. Her interactive blog, Living Undaunted, is a place where you can get links to some of the coolest sites on the net for getting stuff done (big dreams and mundane every day "gotta get it done" stuff), get access to free resources and more. Find it at http://mariaeandreu.typepad.com/livingundaunted/.