The Eternal Struggle Between The Nostalgia Of The Past And The Fear Of The Unknown Future

Photo by Chriss Little

Photo by Chriss Little

Where to live? 



Every single day that ends becomes a part of our past, every minute that passes so quietly, so unnoticeably, while we idly fret and stare blankly at nothing at all, it’s all in the past. People usually refer to the “PAST” as something that happened to them ages ago, mostly with a bitter taste in their mouth. It is irretrievable.  No matter if it was good or bad. Past is the minute that just went by. It’s not that far away. You don’t leave your past behind. You live with it.

Even when you want to pretend that you’re “leaving it behind for good”. Your past and your history are not the same things. History is what you choose to remember. Past is something you accept because it is unforgettable. It is fluid. History cannot be re-written, past is something that is re-written every single second. You can change your past. You can change it right now. Your collection of a million pasts becomes your history. Your Present is a collection of your future pasts. Be careful with what you let pass by you. It’ll become your history.


Your present is NOT a moment in time. It is not this second that rushed by, it is your state of mind. “Living in the present”, people misunderstand it as “right NOW”. It’s not that. Living in the present is being aware of WHERE you are, HOW did you get here, WHERE are you going from here. It’s awareness. It’s not “living in the moment”. It is the awareness of HOW to live life like you want to.

Your present is so, so fragile. It is heavily dependent on how your pasts collect up after the kind of day you might have had, it is so haunted by what the future holds for it. For everybody, future is a collection of your presents. Everything is connected so intricately that it can drive you mad with curiosity. Your present is like a clueless child that tries to walk but stumbles because the earth is shaking, but it thinks that he is the one who is weak. Your past and your future are the parents of your present. What you are right now, your level of awareness about yourself, decides how your history will be written and how illuminated your future will be. That is why wise people tell everybody to live in the present. Self-awareness is an elixir to your life.


The word itself causes anxiety. We have the habit of being scared of something we cannot see, of something we cannot control, something we cannot prevent. The question I asked myself was, why? What exactly will come from being afraid of things before they were even given a chance to arrive? Why are we so scared of losing control? Simply because–we’re afraid of accidents. We’re afraid of dying. So afraid, we don’t even want to think about that it will happen to us. We’re so afraid that we envision and hold on so tight to that belief that even if we die, we won’t die. We are eternal. We like to think we have control over things even if there is no logical reason that we do. We are all afraid. Of the future? Or of losing control? You know how to get over that fear? By controlling your present. Future is a monster under your bed, that you think will pull you under to the depths of hell if you dare to look at it. But so few people have the guts to actually look at that monster, and you know what they see? There is NOTHING under the bed. The fear was all in their heads. They were afraid of something that never even existed.

Your future doesn’t exist. Not yet. It is like that monster that you’re so scared of but doesn’t actually exist. The fear is what gives you anxiety. The fear is in your heart. Be scared of being scared over nothing. Be scared of wasting your Present to the fears of something that doesn’t exist. You’re smarter than that.


Of course, the answer is the Present. But remember what it really is. Not a moment in time, but your state of mind. But it’s obviously easier said than done. Everything is too fragile. Everything is irretrievable. And the pain from the nostalgia is dangerously tragic. The anxiety of the future is unbearably heavy. But still, there’s such incredible beauty to all this too. With every moment that is irretrievably lost, we get another one and another one and another one. So pure and innocent in its forgiving and caressing brush of palm. We don’t need to control the past, let it be. We don’t need to control the future; it’s not even born yet. It’s an idea of an idea. The only thing we have the ability to control and tame and mold is our state of mind RIGHT NOW. And somehow that is the key to everything. Everything. Remember that, okay? You are what you think. You are NOT what you have thought, or did, or planned to do, BEFORE. You are NOT what you will do, or think, or will plan to do, AFTERWARDS. You are what you’re thinking RIGHT now. You are what you are DOING right now. You are what you are PLANNING to DO right now.

How about it, huh? Are you ready to live HERE?

Oshin Ahlawat is a young poet and writer based in New Delhi, India. “I believe people who write are like tornados and cyclones. We wreck a lot of lives; for better or worse. It all depends on the people who read our work. They decide where the damage is going to be; the heart or the mind and whether it’s going to be for the good or for worse. I wish to give them the choice to decide that. I’m just going to focus on doing what I want”, she says.