On the folly of trying to live in The Now.
Late at night I often think about what it would be like to live in the countryside. I could live in a cabin with a quiet stream just outside. There would be a long wooden bookshelf, a comfy leather chair, and candles that flicker freckled light. I think about this life not so much because it is the life I want, but because it is an example of the life I could have. There are thousands of different paths we can take, different lives we can have, and yet, of course, we can only choose one.
We could live in the countryside in northern Norway, in an abandoned atelier in Portland, in a high-rise in Los Angeles, in an artist’s commune in upstate New York, in a houseboat in Seattle, in a loft in Berlin, on a vineyard in Bordeaux, in a studio in Buenos Aires, in a yurt in a Turkish village. Not everyone is so fortunate to have choices, but those who do more often confine themselves to a single place, to a single style of life early on not because they have to but because the instability of change proves too much to bear.
Yet the real burden is the tyranny of the present: the realization that what we do today informs tomorrow and that tomorrow is one day closer to death. After all, life itself is a memento mori. Even our happiest moments only serve to remind us that one day, soon, we will not be as happy as we are now, that the highest point of happiness presages nothing but an impending descent.