Growing up is hard. No matter your age. A good friend of mine put it wonderfully the other day when I was having a worry-filled moment of weakness. Our conversation went something like this…
Me: I hate feeling like I’m waiting for something. Like deep down I’m always anticipating certain things or I’m rushing to the next moment.
Her: We always want what’s in the future because we have no idea what the future holds.
WABAM! With one sentence I got the best reality check I didn’t know I needed. Then, shortly after, I came across this eye-opening passage from British philosopher Alan Watts, “The good to which we aspire exists only and always in the future. Because we cannot relate to the sensuous and material present we are most happy when good things are expected to happen, not when they are happening. We get such a kick out of looking forward to pleasures and rushing ahead to meet them that we can’t slow down enough to enjoy them when they come.”
We need to slow down and stop expecting so much of the future – not all of it is going to be as great as we imagine. You’re already experiencing so much good right now! None of us have ever done this before. Of course we get stressed and anxious about what’s coming, but we shouldn’t let that dictate our every move. Regardless of expectation or what’s convenient, we need to live and learn to be present.
Here are some of my personal pep talks and best practices:
1. Live slowly and deliberately in the moment. On purpose, not by accident. Do more of what you enjoy right now. Do more than exist. Living in the moment doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and jump from a plane in the sky. It means maintaining your focus and being open to opportunity and new possibilities. Like, getting on the plane in the first place.
2. Give yourself a break and stop worrying so much about the future. Your destiny is coming for you regardless. Take 5-10 minutes each day to do nothing. I once heard “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.” I never cared for rocking chairs anyway. Who needs ‘em!
3. Keep following your heart even when it’s hesitant, confused and scared. It’s right. It is always right.
Figuring out life is far from easy, but it’s not our job to have everything figured out. It’s our sole purpose as human beings to live our best lives. I started sharing my stories and thoughts with you because, as I grow up, I’m learning the crucial importance of what it means to be in the here and now. It’s not always easy, clearly, but the fact that we put forth the effort speaks volumes to the quality of life we allow ourselves as individuals. Don’t let yourself waste away with worry. Take solitude in knowing you are not alone out there during those unpredictable moments of weakness. We’re all in this madness together. Make the most of your time while you have the time.
What are your favorite ways to be in the moment? There’s this odd yoga-ish pose I do when I really need to chill out and have my moment of nothing. It’s called legs up the wall. Lay on your back and put your legs up the wall, with your arms out by your side. Close your eyes. Try not to fall asleep. Sometimes it’s the strangest and simplest things that ground us. Share your favorite practices with me in the comment section of this post or on the B3 Facebook page!