“Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
A middle-aged lady was parking her car.
Another car was coming in from the other end.
The lady hit the other car.
The other driver, a man, aghast, got out of his car and rudely asked the lady to step out of the car.
The lady stepped out of her car, shakily, and was instantly met with the man’s anguish.
Rude bellowing, offensive cursing, and angry shouting were met with shocked, anxious, paralysing silence.
Shaken, the lady offered some money to cover the man’s repairs in hope for a reconciliation.
The man took the money and left the lady, while still throwing curses and shoutings.
The lady got back into her care and drove back home safe, though a few shades whiter and a couple (heart)beat faster.
The middle-aged lady was my mother. The reconciliation process went longer than the above case report I was able to put into words, but matters were settled and no injury and/or further ordeals were borne. I asked her in the evening, after everything was resolved, whether she was still in shock– to which, she answered, “No, because it has passed.”
I looked back and noticed, that often, what happens is that we tend to linger on things that are, quite frankly, no longer there. We linger, we ruminate, we obsess, over and on the pain of something that has way passed– sometimes for days, weeks, or even months on end. Perhaps it is because we think by unconsciously holding ourselves accountable for something that has way passed its expiration date would release us from the grips of whatever it is we are trying to break free from– be it guilt, hurt, brokenness. But truth to be told, no wronger lie has ever been told.
From my mother’s story today, I learned a very important lesson. You see, the thing is, we tend to make life appear so complicated when, in fact, it isn’t some rocket science after all. The formula to life is in fact, though discreetly, very simple.
Life is composed of our past, present, and future. What usually happens is that we tend to mix and merge our past, present, and future like they are this one wholeness in which they are not. We tend to let what happened to us in the past carry through as though they are our present; and we tend to let our projections and assumptions of the future backdate as though they are our present.
Our future and our past are not our present.
Nor is our future is our past, or vice versa.
All three times have their own separate timelines.
And contrary to popular beliefs, we are not stuck living in all three.
Our lives are not about our past, nor is it, arguably, about our future. Laws of physics might deny this, but whatever we are living is our present– whatever is happening right here, in the now. That’s what I usually refer to as reality.
The clock is showing that it is 11:53 PM.
The air conditioner has a whizzing sound.
The air from the air conditioner feels cold as it touches my skin.
I suddenly have an urge to start singing something from Michael Buble’s Christmas album.
I am contemplating whether to sleep or to read after I publish this post.
Those are just a glimpse of my present. And right in this now, in this moment, nothing else matters because they simply do not exist.
The truth is, life is as easy as taking it easy; one by one, bird by bird. You see, when there is a problem, you tackle it. When it is done, you move on. So, it’s: problem, tackle, move on. Problem, tackle, move on. On repeat, all day long.
And then comes the leftover residues. I, out of all people, understand the inconvenience of these leftover residues. Nuisances as they are, but the major error lies in us either trying to dismiss them, or ruminate and obsess too long in them. When these leftover residues emerge, which they will, in the most agonising way, you embrace it. When you’ve embraced it, you feel them. Once you’ve felt them, you move on. So, it’s: embrace, feel, move on. Embrace, feel, move on. On repeat, all day long.
No, really, that’s it. One by one, bird by bird.
Our present is way too precious to be rid off of the peace it deserves just because we, by mistake, intertwine it with things that in fact do not exist. Every time has its own timeline, as will the things that will happen and fall into place.
Just you wait, just you have faith.
Just you take it one by one, bird by bird.