This week, I had the exact same conversation with two different women who both had just returned from their summer vacations. I asked each one if they were rested and ready to get back to work and they gave me the very same answer, “I wish I had enjoyed my vacation more without feeling stressed and thinking too much about things.” I don’t know about your motive to go on vacation but mine is to enjoy myself and have fun. I want to be fully present in the moment of NOW!
Have you ever watched a group of children playing outside? They totally get the whole living in the moment concept! When I went for a walk last night, I became entranced watching these two little girls playing in the front of their house. The one girl was wearing her pink shirt with matching flowered shorts and hot pink cowboy boots. The other one had a head full of curls and a brightly colored dress on with neon Converse athletic shoes. They ran and climbed with abandon, laughing and giggling as they played. Each was fully present, never planning what came next in their adventure together.
If only we could channel some of their mindfulness— their ability to be fully present and live each moment as it unfolds. Their innate skill to enjoy so completely without giving thought to time or commitments. I believe each one of us can retrain our brains to live fully present in today. Here are a few tips to help you live life in the moment.
Take part in an activity that reminds you of your childhood. You know, the activity that you feel is not appropriate for mature, responsible adults! A couple of years ago, I went on a trip to Florida to visit my sister. The two of us spent the days lying out by the pool reading our books. Built into the middle of the pool was an extensive slide system that twisted and turned and ended up on a completely different side. I watched as all the kids took turns enjoying the ride, screaming the whole way. There was no one over the age of 12 that attempted the slide. Finally, I insisted to my sister that she go with me. “I just washed my hair— you go if you want to go”. After much pleading and begging, I pulled her from the chair and pushed her into the water. To say she was irritated with me is an understatement. Angry, she went down the slide with me, screaming the whole way. She splashed in the water and said, “let’s go again”. The whole time, she acted like she was doing me a favor but I knew better. She was having a blast and completely in the moment.
Make an effort to not be regretting the past, or worrying about the future-just live NOW. So many of us waste time ruminating about what has already transpired in life. What a waste of time! You can’t change the past. Learn from it and move on. On the other hand, worrying about what could happen is a complete waste of your energy. The most important piece to remember is this; while you’re worrying, regretting and fretting, you’re missing the opportunity to live completely now. You’re missing out on what’s happening around you in the present and losing an opportunity to thoroughly enjoy your time today. The key to controlling this bad habit is to catch you while it is happening. Call yourself out on this behavior and say out loud, “I choose to live my life NOW”. It might not work the first or second time you try it, but slowly you will see a shift. You will take notice of how much time you devote to this destructive behavior.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be the little girl with the flowered shorts and the hot pink cowboy boots. I want to enjoy life and find joy in every moment. So if you see me wasting precious time worrying or fretting, please call me out on this. Let’s all live in the NOW.