“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”
– Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda
An appropriate quote for the turning of years, and of decades, no? 🙂
At this moment in the story, the protagonist, a young, fat panda bear named Po, is feeling very discouraged. He seems to be failing to grasp a bright and shining future, doing what he’s always wanted to do, because he can’t seem to do it as well as others can. So he’s thinking about his past, the life he’s always known and always wanted out of, wondering if he should just give up and go back to what he was doing before.
So, he’s dwelling on the past, and a possible future, and he’s upset because he feels like a total failure.
But Oogway tells him this, and the meaning of it is clear.
The past is the past, it is over and done. It can’t be changed, but neither must it forever rule us. It is there to learn from.
The future is unknown, and nobody can predict it perfectly (though they can certainly do a fair job of it at times). One ought to look towards it, but not exclusively.
As for the present… now, that is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Every day we have, every moment, is a gift. And it’s quite a powerful gift, isn’t it? Every moment of joy, of laughter, of sorrow, of anguish, of anger, of hope, of triumph, all of it is felt, here and now, from moment to moment. Every choice we make, we make in the here and now. The course of the past may be departed from, to change our destination in the future. Whatever has happened before, and whatever we want or fear in what may yet happen, it is in the present that we choose what path to take, or make.
That is a powerful, wonderful, beautiful thing, is it not?
As I learn from yesterday, and look to tomorrow, I hope that I do not forget about today, and everything it means.