The Art of Living in the Moment
Ever feel like the coronavirus has put you in an alternate reality? Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone. It’s natural to want to get back to our “original reality” and trade-in the new normal for the old.
Some of us love working from home, others, not so much. Kids are home from school putting pressure on parents to home school in addition to managing their jobs. Everyone’s situation is different, but have you ever noticed that, even in normal times, we usually want the opposite of what we have? If we’re putting in too many hours in the office, we want more time at home with the family. If we’re tired of working from home, we’re anxious to get back to the office.
This got me thinking. When we crave an “alternative moment” rather than the one we’re actually living, we cease to live in the “present moment”—at least mentally. And what happens when you’re not living in the present moment—and enjoying it for what it is? You miss that moment—forever.
For example, I work as a consultant for a career transition company. I coach and consult candidates that have lost their jobs. So naturally, they’re all living for that “future moment” when they land a new job. Who can blame them? I often remind them to live in this present moment because there’s something in it for them.
Invariably, when they find a new career, they tell me they wish they had enjoyed this “pause” more—and not worried so much about landing a job. Other job candidates “lived in the moment” of unemployment and were grateful for its unplanned benefits—rekindling their relationship with their spouse, reconnecting with their college-bound teenage daughter, or just having time to recalibrate their life.
“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness,
not because they never found it,
but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
Several years ago, I operated my own home-based business, an advertising copywriting and executive speechwriting firm. One August afternoon, my young sons, David and Mark, were once again, bored. I didn’t need their interruptions as I was writing an executive speech to hit a crushing deadline. When my patience wore thin, I suggested a diversion.
“How about building a tent?” I said. (Every boy loves his own fort.) Together, we found an old quilt, draped it over my paint roller extension pole, cobbled together the end supports, and created tension to hold the quilt open with makeshift weights—old paint cans, toy trucks from the sandbox, and bricks from the window well. Add a few snacks, fruit drinks, and comic books and the fort was finished.
Today, how do I know I was living in the moment on that warm August afternoon? Well, do I remember anything about the speech I wrote that day? No. Do I recall who the speech was for? Not a chance. The company I was writing it for? Nope. Do I recollect how proud my sons were of their tent? Absolutely. (See photo above.) Most importantly, do my sons, now married and in their 30s, remember what their father was doing on that now iconic summer afternoon? Writing a speech? No. “He was building a cool fort with us.”
I realize your circumstances today are much different than mine were then. And, you’re not living in the moment you imagined.
Nevertheless, NOW is the only moment you have.
Look for its hidden benefits, its disguised blessings, its memorable moments.
Then, drink it in.
Please feel free to ask me a question, leave a comment, or join my mailing list by subscribing to my FREE newsletter, PAUSE MORE. RUSH LESS. below. We’ll talk about how to slow down your life to live it more fully.