“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman
Live In The Moment
When I was in my teens I thought there was something special about turning 30. The movies I saw and the “older” generation portrayed this time of life so perfectly. I couldn’t wait for the magical number to arrive and looked forward to the day when everything in my life would fall neatly into place. I figured by then I would know where I was going, be in full swing productively and have all my ducks lined up in a row.
What a disappointment it was when 30 actually arrived. It was just another day. Looking back now the decade was fabulous but I was still very green and hardly knew which way was up. My ducks were not even remotely lined up but scattered about in a myriad of directions. They could be found lying upside down, under cabinets, or buried beneath piles of ash and rubbish waiting to be rescued when the right moment arrived.
I swallowed my disappointment, neatly rearranged my thought process and began to look ahead to my 40’s. Surely, that would be my decade. I was certain I would arrive by then. I envisioned perfection. The idyllic swing into calm, collected, and ‘put together’ maturity….sophisticated and accomplished. The energy and focus changed as I once again looked ahead to what was to be.
What happened when 40 arrived could only be interpreted as a beautiful hot mess. There were moments of greatness here and there but, more often than not, everything was topsy turvy. My ducks needed constant attention or they would slip and slide out of place easily, searching for the comforting hiding spots they had long become accustomed to.
Now into my 50’s I begin to see that this is how life is actually meant to be lived. I have eased into the idea that life is for today, not for what might be tomorrow. Perfection is an illusion and those blasted ducks will never stay put like they are supposed to. Chaos, the unexpected twists and turns are NORMAL. I have learned I don’t have to fight it anymore. Thankfully…it’s okay. I’m taking this moment, this day as it comes…reveling in the here and now and it feels just right.
Here are three simple ways to live in the moment.
1) Each morning take a moment to reflect on what you have to be thankful for today. It may be as simple as the ability to get out of bed, a job to go to, or the food you have to eat. The important thing is that it is what you have now, not tomorrow or 10 years off in the future.
2) Make a conscious effort to let go of the what-if. Everyone can come up with a what-if fairly quickly. Some examples…what if my daughter doesn’t call me or what if I get sick and can’t go on that vacation. The what-if stops you from living in the moment because of the constant worry of what might be in the future. Let it go. 99.9% of what we worry about never takes place. So why waste your time and energy on the .1%
3) Focus on other’s needs instead of your own. It is impossible to live in the future when you are helping out someone in the present. It may be only a smile, or a shoulder to cry on but that one small act will ground you to the present.
These are the 3 simple ways I have found that work for me. I would love to hear your thoughts about them and what you have found that works for you.
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