Today I read something that struck me as true and uplifting. I normally preach all about focusing on the future, setting goals for yourself and achieving those goals through bold lifestyle changes and moves, but this particular reading went against the grain and I liked it.
I can’t recall exactly what the quote was word for word, but it went along the lines of :
“We focus so much on what is to come in the future that we hardly recognize that we are living the best and most precious days of our lives here and now.”
Wow. Did you feel the impact? It hit me because as I sat their reading that, I was also checking the clock to see what time I could go to lunch. After lunch, I would inevitable check the clock six or seven more times to count down until I could go home. When I got in my car to go home I would be thinking about all the things I needed to do once I got there. And so on. I absolutely live in the future. I can’t remember the last time I was so present that I didn’t care about what was going on on social media or how fast the weekend would approach. Consuming ourselves with the current time that surrounds us would probably fix a lot of this society’s addiction to materialistic things and sense of impatience.
We are always holding on to something that is in the future or something that hasn’t even happened yet. It is so great to have things to look forward to, but how often are we just watching the clock until it’s time to party? Something to think about.
I always say that if you don’t like your current situation, then change it. I stand by that because if you’re unhappy with your life, then why wouldn’t you live in the future? Be realistic, though. Don’t up and quit your job or divorce your spouse because you think you’re unhappy. Also, make sure that you are not at the root of your own problem. If you are at the root of your own problem, nothing you do will make the present worth your while.
I think another thing that destroys our ability to appreciate the time being is expectations. Little escapes await us every weekend, whether it’s a road trip, a party, or a relaxing girls day. For these little escapes, we set expectations, and when we do that, the adventure doesn’t always live up to everything we thought it would be. Half the time when I agree to go out and do things on the weekends, I find that I’d much rather be at home snuggling my dogs. Then when I am at home all weekend snuggling my dogs, I realize how bored I am. All because I am never actually absorbing the time being.
I’m not trying to get all mushy and deep, with you all, but this is serious stuff. I watched the movie “A Christmas Carol” last night, the one with Patrick Stewart. In the movie the ghost of Scrooge’s old business partner told Scrooge about all the ghosts that haunt the Earth and how desperately bad they wish that they could do good by others and make up for all the time they had wasted. Many of them suffered from greed and selfishness, but it was too late for them to redeem themselves. I realize that the movie is fictional, but the truths that can be extracted from that movie are incredible. What’s more, even when the selfish Scrooge let the love of his life walk away due to his own selfishness and will to become rich, he says, “I almost went after her”, to which the ghost of Christmas past (basically) replies, “‘Almost’ doesn’t count.”
So just let that simmer in your apple cider cocktail for a while. ‘Tis the season to be thankful for everything you have. ‘Tis the season to give, yet we always seem to become the worst versions of ourselves when greed is an acceptable option.
I’ll give you a prime example of how hysterical I was over something that hadn’t even happened, nor been confirmed yet, and how it altered my ability to live in the present: I went to Las Vegas this last weekend. I had worked about 20 days straight, so I was well overdue for a vacation. I booked this trip months in advance, and the closer the trip got, the more excited I became, and the more I watched the clock. I got SO worked up about going, packing the right outfits, and having the time of my life that I was completely taken aback when my dog came up missing…the night before we were suppose to leave. My husband had already made arrangements for the dogs to be taken to a boarding facility and all. I set out on foot that night to look for Gus, but he was no where to be found. We live on 15 acres and he can hear me calling him at every square inch of it, so I knew he was off running amok elsewhere. This scared me because some of our neighbors will kill dogs on site, whether they have a collar on or not. I slightly panicked, but not yet. He had only been gone a few hours, so I waited until the morning when I could search for him again. He never did come home, though. I was so upset and worried that I started to doubt my trip to Vegas, which was now happening after much anticipation. I thought about cancelling the trip, but instead, my husband made fliers and contacted some neighbors to help us out while we were gone. It’s all we really could do, besides, I was convinced that he had been shot or run over.
So we get to Vegas and while the bright lights and sound of slot machines going off did make me excited, I would see people walking their dogs or one of those bloody awful Sarah McLauchlin commercials and be instantly reminded of my sweet baby. This continued for the entire trip until I finally had a meltdown on the last day. I had been hoping to catch an earlier flight home to begin looking for my dog again, but there was no such luck. Our flight left at 4 p.m. on Sunday and we had been in Vegas for four days without hearing an word about my Gus. Feeling defeated and embarrassed, I cried for a while and accepted the worst.
When we got to the airport, my husband received a call from a distant neighbor of ours. He hunts a lot and he had set some hog traps around his place with some tortilla chips in them, trying to trap a hog. Instead, he got Gus. Thankfully, Gus was just fine, aside from being VERY hungry and thirsty, and the neighbor saw to it that he made it back to our house so that he’d be waiting on us when we got there. I can’t explain the relief I felt. All that time in Vegas I could hardly enjoy myself because I couldn’t stop thinking about things that hadn’t even happened yet.
Anyone would have worried about their dog. That’s obvious, but it was out of my control either way. I couldn’t put the bad thoughts aside for two hours even to just relax and have a good time on a much deserved vacation. We had people helping us back home, fliers all over the place, and had also called the pound. Rather than being thankful for a much deserved vacation with my husband, I chose to live in the “what-if” future and didn’t have half the fun I could have if I would have just let it go until I was back.
Be thankful for what you’ve got now, don’t worry about what is happening tomorrow, don’t even worry about what happened yesterday. Today’s a gift, so they call it the present.