The months have gotten away from me, and I find myself at the beginning of June wondering exactly what happened to April and May. This is, of course, most likely due to the fact that I spent a majority of April finishing a Master’s thesis, and a majority of May having some quality family time with my Mom and two of my sisters.
In fact, I was actually really trying to work on being present the last couple of months. Living in the moment. Really taking in the minutes and hours that I was currently experiencing (not worrying about past mistakes or how uncertain my future is)
Case in point:
Merry-go-round by the Eiffel Tower!
Now that being said, there is a very important reason I am writing about being ‘present’ in my own life. I’ve spent a good deal of my 30 years on this planet always planning, looking ahead, and reaching for dreams and goals. It was a never-ending race, and I didn’t want to be last to the finish line. I wanted to DO things.
This is, of course, extremely important. A person needs to have an aspiration or objective to reach for in order to keep moving forward in life. However, there are times that we can get so caught up in where we’re going, where we’ve been, and how many things we’ve gotten wrong, that the present—our most important moment—is lost.
So what do I mean?
“I let the ‘limbo’ overtake my life…”
What I am attempting to convey is that, very recently, I found myself in this position. I became so set on my future—the plans, the applications, the emails, etc., etc.—that I became caught up in waiting and wondering. I let the ‘limbo’ overtake my life, and when things did not go the way my plans had outlined them, the uncertainty in this period engulfed me.
I forgot to be present.
I began to exist from day to day.
Wake up. Worry. Go to my internship. Stare at my computer all day. Worry. Go home. Eat. Go to bed. Worry. Repeat.
I was dying while still breathing, and I realized that I was no longer concentrating on the days that were given to me, and, instead, dwelling on the unknowns of the future and the mistakes of my past.
See, the past has already happened. We cannot change it. The future is undecided, and we cannot predict it. In reality, the only thing that matters is how we use the present. It is a reflection of what we have learned from the past, and at the same time it influences where we will go in the future. So…really…it is the MOST important moment that we have.
There is even beauty in those ‘limbo’ moments. You get the opportunity to really be with yourself, to understand aspects of your mind and character that perhaps got lost in your fast-paced, future-oriented life.
What I have learned from being present these past few months is this:
1. Do not sweat the small stuff.
Life will keep moving, and you with it. So if your plans do not materialize the way you envisioned them. It’s ok. Take a step back and look at the new adventure that this unplanned present may take you on—it could be even better than you originally imagined.
2. Love the people in your life.
Not being present allows for you to become so wrapped up in the bad that you forget to be there for those most important in your life. There is no replacing moments with those you love. Go to that art exhibit they are so excited about; send a letter just to say you were thinking about them; or simply, just call to say thank you. These people need to know they are part of your present—and your future.
3. Remember this is a journey, not a race.
Remember that there is no rule book, or set path for winning at life. Do not get caught up in mislaid plans. If you don’t show up to your own life…you’ll end up losing no matter what anyone else says or does.
4. Don’t be afraid to get know yourself.
Sometimes being alone with ourselves is probably one of the most intimidating things we can do, but we must do it in order to be present. Self-evaluation can be scary, but if you go into it knowing that you’re going to come out a better person on the other side, you’ll find that your ability to grow during this time will be your greatest blessing and asset for the future.
5. Take a moment and enjoy being alive.
No matter where you’re running to, what kind of day you’ve had, or what other tasks you have to get done by the end of the day, practice being present. Sit for five minutes on a park bench watching children play, or have a coffee listening to your favorite song. MAKE time to be present at least for some part of your day. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. You just need to show up.
It’s not always going to be easy, and I’m sure that I’ll have my own moments that I need to be reminded again. But…I promise it is worth it.