Why is it so tempting to escape Now? Why so many scientists spend precious time on reflecting our past and future?
Yes, we learn by reflecting the past. However, looking back at it, we tend to simplify it and make events look better than they seemed to us that time!
Wondering about future is even more doubtful.. Future never happens, it's always ahead.
Indeed, having a great strategy ready to use is beneficial for any project. However, excessive worry on the outcome of it was never of use in my work.
Now is hard. Now requires taking an action. It demands interaction with the reality, existing knowledge, colleagues, students and administration, right here, right now. It challenges us incredibly. As Bruce Gibb writes in the recent essay published by Nature Chemistry, nowadays students are demanding while giving very little back (1). Funds disappear (2). Universities compromise science with politicians, prioritizing some fields and denying others (3). Well, these are opinions, but I agree, there are things to be improved. Luckily:)
I think trying to constantly compare Now to past or sinking into worry on what will happen in the elusive tomorrow is of little to no use. I relate to what happens, one day at a time, keeping my excitement on science and teaching, acting appropriately, listening, interacting and conducting research with dignity. When I try to do that, an amazing thing happens. I experience great joy and fulfillment, by knowing that I contribute with all I can to TODAY.
1. B. Gibb, Nature Chemistry 2017, 9, 404–405
2. B. Hyldkrog, J.S. Adamsen, 2015; web: http://medie.cbs.dk/government-intends-cut-research-funding-dkk-14bn
3. H. J. Silver, Science and Politics: The Uneasy Relationship, in Open Spaces Quarterly, Vol. 8, #1, Fall 2005