I have been trying to take my own advice and live in the moment. Now, live in the moment doesn’t necessarily mean embarking on grand adventures, or living spontaneously on the fly. For me, living in the moment is trying to pay attention to what is happening right this second. I am a thinker, a dweller, a worrier….if you know me, you know this is pretty accurate (I see you nodding your head with a knowing understanding). These traits can be helpful. They keep life pretty well-organized. They keep life prepared. They keep me on top of things. They keep things from falling through the cracks. I play devil’s advocate and I can see both sides of a situation. These traits can be helpful. On the other hand, sometimes these traits can also be simply not-helpful. Sometimes I worry too much about the what-ifs. They can sometimes wake me up in the morning, and have my heart thumping in my chest, minutes out of slumber. What if? What if! WHAT IF!?!?!?
Now, I think that realizing that my relationship with the what-ifs can be problematic is a good thing. I am aware that I don’t want to spend my life lost in worries. One of my favorite books is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In the “Getting Started” section of the book, she talks about not wanting to miss the life that she is living. She discusses the idea that she doesn’t want to miss the good times worrying about the bad ones. She reflects on something she once read, the same way I am reflecting upon what she said.
“I didn’t want to keep taking these days for granted. The words of the writer Colette had haunted me for years: ‘What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.’ I didn’t want to look back, at the end of my life or after some great catastrophe, and think, ‘How happy I used to be then, if only I’d realized it.’ “
The idea that she is spending the good times worrying that something actually bad might happen, and one day when something bad actually happens she will look back and think, but I had it so good back then…well, I can totally relate to that. I worry about that too (of course 🙂 ). I spend so much time wanting to make sure that I don’t miss anything, that I am actually missing things. Sometimes I am missing the good of right this second worrying about the potentially negative possibilities in an unknown future. Now THAT is not helpful.
These past weeks, I have been working on soaking in the moment. Kids starting school. Special birthdays. Time with family. Catching up with friends. Being in the moment. Trying to narrate my life in the present rather than worrying about the future. This — this life — this is the grand adventure. I can’t predict what will happen in the future, but I can be engaged and involved in what is happening right this second. Right this second, my house is still quiet. My husband has the holiday off and I am trying to let him sleep in, because he never, ever does. I can hear my children waking up, but they are still in bed for now. I am sitting in the kitchen, with a cup of coffee, typing away. I can see the birds outside my window, flying down from the tree to their bird feeder already. The world is quiet. Soon the house will be bustling with activity, and rightly so. And I get to be here, right in the middle of it all, soaking it in and being present in the moment. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know that life is good today, and, for me, that is what I need to focus on.