If not now, when.
Actually, the entire quote is “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
These are the words of one of the greatest Jewish scholars, Rabbi Hillel, also known as Hillel the Elder. Hillel lived in the beginning of the common era, roughly 2000 years ago. His admonition, “if not now, when,” is taken to refer to the necessity to attend to obligations now, in this moment, and to not put off that which is essential.
Be mindful now. Such a simple injunction. Taken with Hillel’s admonition, what am I waiting for if I do not direct my intentionality to the present moment? When do I want to live? Next year? Back when I was 12 years old?
I only have now. So why do I fret? Tomorrow isn’t here. Why do I regret? Yesterday is over; I can’t change it.
When is the time to be mindful? What am I waiting for? How about you? Did you sit today? Did you walk mindfully? Eat mindfully? What excuse did I give myself? Was I at least able to be mindful of my mindless excuse?
If not now, when. Be mindful now.