Lesson From Prison

If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.

Jim Carey

I was reading a story of a prisoner who was just released from prison after spending 14 years serving time for a crime he was exonerated from. I can’t imagine being imprisoned for a crime I did not commit and losing 14 years of my life.

When they asked how he survived, he said he learned to live in the moment, one day at a time, one moment at a time. He said when he thought about the past he would get really angry, and when he thought of the future it was nothing but despair. It was too much to think about both the past and future. He learned that all he had was the here and now.

I feel that way sometimes about the past. What I have not done, when I think about it, I tend to get remorseful. Instead of looking at it as a learning experience and moving on, I simply get depressed, because I should have known better – I should be further along than I am now. When I think about the future, what I want for my life, I get frustrated because I am not there yet. I have not learned to enjoy the journey, the grind, the here and now.

I do believe it is important to plan and prepare for the future, to hope for better days, and to look to the past for learning experiences, however, if those thoughts get lost in uncertainty and regret, then I may forget to live today. If I forget to live today, then I have lost the most precious gift I have been given, time. Time to do a little better today than I did yesterday. Time to keep pushing along the path. Time to enjoy the journey, as much as the destination.

That is the lesson I have drawn from the prisoner who was wrongly sentenced.

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