Have you ever been to your child’s recital or school play only to realize that you didn’t actually get to enjoy your little one’s moment of glory? Why? Because you spent the whole time staring at your little screen, trying to capture it for “the future” instead of enjoying it in “the now”? (And do people ever watch those videos, anyway?)
Or, how about this: You drive to your destination across town and, when you get there, you don’t remember anything about the trip.
Our lives can be like that. We spend a lot of time either fretting about the past or worrying about the future. Very little of our time, it seems, is spent right here, right now in the present moment.
Yes, but summer vacation is almost here, you say. That’ll change things.
Really? Is that what you plan to do? (I hope so!)
Here’s the reality for most people.
For starters, it seems that it’s less about taking time off for yourself and more about competing with your colleagues. Who will have the best vacation this year? Who will travel the farthest? Who will bring back the best photos?
They spend weeks in anticipation of it and when they get there, they spend all their time thinking about things back home, hiding behind a little screen snapping photos or scampering around trying to see everything at once. Then, when they get home—sunburned and exhausted—they jump nose-deep into a stack of photos trying to relive the experience.
When do we get to live for this moment? This one, right here? If you don’t live it now, it’s gone. Forever. And ever.
Whether you are planning a vacation to relax, get to a project you’ve had to put off or just spend time with the kids, live for now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Enjoy the moment. Breathe the air. Have a cocktail with a little umbrella—even if it’s in your own backyard. Be good to yourself.
Ah, connection. What a great idea! Take the time during your holidays to connect with people around you. Not a let’s-trade-business-cards kind of connection while you re looking over their shoulder wondering who else is around, but a real one, the kind when you look into someone’s eyes and are happy to be in the moment. Who knows? You might just find a new friend.
Let’s get mindful
Not feeling particularly present? Here is a little exercise you can do when you find yourself anywhere but here and you want to ground yourself in the moment.
Simply look around, identify five things in the room around you and say their names to yourself. Pause at each item and really look at it for a few seconds. It’s amazing how quickly you can come back to earth just doing that.
Whatever you do this summer, do it for you. Remember, we can’t take care of others unless we take care of ourselves first.
Why not take a few minutes to say hello below. I’d love to hear what you have planned for the summer. Even if it’s nothing at all.