“The present moment does’t always feel good, but it’s the only place where feeling happens. The past is merely memories collected. The future is only ideas imagined. It is always now. Be here.”


As I nestled into my beloved plywood chair—a design marvel that blends past elegance with modern flair—I found my thoughts steering toward the ever-elusive concept of “living in the moment.” This chair, with its beautiful lines and character, has become my designated thinking spot. Though graceful, it often emits a gentle creak beneath me, like an old friend trying to join in on my contemplations. “Yes, chair,” I muse, “Today, we ponder the mysteries of the now.”

The present, in all its uncomfortable, awkward glory, isn’t always the feather-stuffed cushion of delight we’d like it to be. Yet, it’s in this very imperfect instant that life, in all its bizarre wonder, unfurls. Take the other day, for instance. I found myself squinting at an avocado, willing it to ripen in my hands, praying for it to transform into that buttery, green goodness that would make my toast look like a magazine spread. However, as we all know, avocados have an innate sense of comedic timing. One moment, they’re a rock-hard disappointment, and the next, a mushy mess that even flies would turn up their noses at. Living in the ‘now’ with an avocado? Let’s just say it’s an exercise in patience.

The past, with its sepia-toned memories, often feels like an endless reel of “Best Of” clips from a television series that has long since been canceled. Like my first big-shot business trip to New York. I tried to fit in, to play the role of the cosmopolitan business person. I confidently pointed to a fancy menu item without really comprehending it. Voila! Frog Legs. I chewed, with a plastered smile, trying not to think of Kermit. Ah, New York. A city where you can simultaneously feel on top of the world and utterly out of your depth.

Then, there was that time in college—a setting always ripe for humiliation. There I was, in the library, surrounded by the silent reverence of academia. And then… it happened. A betrayal of the body. A fart that reverberated through the stacks. Everyone remained stoic, lost in their studies, except for Randi. Oh, Randi! Her head popped up like a meerkat’s, and he blurted out, “Did somebody fart?” Her accusing eyes locked onto mine, as the business calculus homework I was struggling through suddenly became incredibly interesting.

But really, these memories are just highlights (or lowlights), snippets of a grander narrative that is often filled with the mundane. Brushing your teeth, tying your shoelaces, or watching paint dry—literally.

Meanwhile, the future is an exciting and often fantastical land of what-ifs. It’s like envisioning yourself in the sequel to your current life where suddenly, you’re the hero with a chiseled jawline and an ability to speak seventeen languages, including dolphin. But it’s also the place where anxiety takes root. What if I trip while collecting my Best Dolphin Communicator Award? Or worse, what if dolphins become our new overlords?

But let’s snap back to reality, or more accurately, the present. This is where the magic happens, or at least, the closest we’ll get to magic without involving a wand or a rather suspicious-looking rabbit in a hat.

Consider the sensation of a lukewarm cup of tea—its very mediocrity is an experience in itself. Or the feeling of your socks, not quite wet, but annoyingly damp because you stepped into that deceptive puddle on your way home. There’s something undeniably real, undeniably present about these moments.

Yes, the present isn’t always roses and rainbows. It’s more like stumbling on a Lego brick—painful, yet undeniably real. But it’s in these moments of discomfort, these hilariously tragic nows, that we find our most genuine selves. It’s when we laugh uncontrollably at our own blunders, dance in our kitchen while burning the toast, or savor the sweet victory of opening a jar on the first try after a battle of wits with the lid.

The present is where feeling happens. It’s the vibrant palette of emotions, from the ecstasy of biting into a perfectly ripe avocado to the despair of watching it brown before your very eyes. So, as I stretch on my beloved chair, contemplating the profound beauty of the now, I smile. Because in this moment, with its imperfections and surprises, I feel alive. And that, my friends, is something worth cherishing.

So, here’s my call to arms, or rather, to presence: Let’s make a collective pact. Be here. Be fully, awkwardly, hilariously, unapologetically present. Embrace the strange symphony of life that plays only in the now. And remember, even if that avocado doesn’t ripen just right, there’s always guacamole. Now, isn’t that something to look forward to?

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.