Living in the moment or always looking forward?

In my experience writers rarely retire. They love what they do too much, or maybe writing is so much part of them that writing doesn’t feel like a job, it’s a passion, a calling—heck, where others talk, writing is their chief form of communication. So to a nonwriter or someone without artistic inclinations, that mindset doesn’t exist.

Case in point, call in my husband. He’s a chemical engineer and is a planner all the way. The idea of living in the here and now is foreign to him. If he is doing something in the present, it’s to get to point X. I thought that after he retired, he might change this pattern.

But as I type this he’s packing for elk hunting three weeks away. He’s training for the New York Marathon in November.

He seems to need an event too look forward to, while I’m content just to sip my coffee, put my thoughts down on the page for this blog, then get back to my characters who are coming to life in my book. True, I have a goal to finish it, but it’s so much fun living through my characters and living with them in their moments. To get to the end of the book I have to stay with them every step of the way.

I’m going to New York with my husband. I’m looking forward to it. But he is ecstatic. And when he brought it up the other day, he said aren’t you excited? I explained yes, but I’ll be more so when I pack a couple of days before, get on the plane and then when I’m there I’ll revel in the experience. Right now, I’m excited about my characters, and writing a sequel to Deadly Recall, and figuring out how I’m going to get these people I love into more trouble.

He looked at me as if I’d sprouted horns.

When we took our road trip, he was planning what he would do when he got home. I was enjoying the scenery, my time with him, our visits with the people we came to see.

I like when I take a walk to look at everything around me, or spend time with friends and that’s simply what I’m doing. He does, too, I’m sure, but he’s continually on the go, and he’s always, always looking forward. He couldn’t wait to get to retirement, and now that it’s here, he’s calling it a sabbatical and considering going back to work.

At times, his eyes dart when we talk so I know he’s thinking about taking that next step. It makes me smile because I know he’s half in the moment and half in the future. I’ll say are you with me? And he is, as much as he can be. For some this might cause a conflict, but for me I appreciate that a great deal of that looking forward has made him a success. Moreover, he doesn’t hold my here and now tendencies against me.

I love studying characters’ mindsets. I think they’re so interesting. My husband doesn’t know–ok, he’s a very smart man–I’m sure he does, but he’s often a case study. And I am to. I love comparing our personalities on Myers Briggs to discover what makes us tick.

So what about you? Do you live in the moment, or are you always looking forward? Or are you somewhere in between?