Letters to myself: Living in the moment

Rumor has it that the only time which actually exists is the present. Is that philosophical? Is that a fact made to discourage me from dissecting the past and dreaming about the future? All I know is that pushing a fat guy through the eye of a needle is often easier for me than living in the moment. That’s not good.

If I start a diet tomorrow, by Christmas I’ll be fitting into my skinny jeans.

Ten years ago, I should have quit that job and gone back to school.

Remember when we used to meet every Saturday and run to the top? I loved those mornings.

I can’t wait until summer.

We all do it. It’s human nature. But I’ve taken up too much valuable time daydreaming, lamenting and evoking better days, when I should be experiencing what’s in front of me. Today is all I have. This moment is IT.

And yet, I’ve often been annoyed at those who advocate a carpe diem approach to life. Surely, it’s important to plan for the future and learn from past mistakes, yes? Yes. But when my husband and I speak of “killing time” with our children at the park instead of being involved in their play, something is wrong. When I’m sitting in a meeting envisioning my future success instead of listening to my boss, chances are there will be no fanciful career. Chances are, I could get fired for not paying attention.

Living in the present moment is not simply the right way to live; it’s the ONLY way to live. How we experience this reality is the issue. Like success in all areas of life, it requires discipline, and reminders. I’ve taken to slapping up mental Post-it notes in my head when I find myself recalling yesterday or anticipating tomorrow.

“Stay here.”
“Listen.”
“Nothing is more important than this.”
“Be involved.”
“Stop. Do this thing.”
“If not now, when?”
“One moment at a time.”
“Feel this. Breathe.”
“This moment is my life.”
“Be aware.”

And, of course, “carpe diem”, because we should all seize the day.

– Althea