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I Choose to Be Present in My Life

By Leslie Moon October 03, 2022 Mindset

I am a worrier, and I have suffered lifelong from anxiety. I realized that giving into those things were creating a vicious circle. Throughout my entire life, I have allowed worry and anxiety to rob me of the joy in the moment.

Countless moments.

So, I decided this summer that my project for myself was going to work on the act of being present in my life’s moments. To really listen to and take joy in what my grandchildren have to say. To laugh wholeheartedly without worrying, at the same time, about something bad happening over which I have no control. To sink into my husband’s hug and think about nothing else in that moment.

I came across a quote by Buddha that captured it for me completely. He said:

“Be where you are. Otherwise you will miss your life.”

I would encourage everyone reading this to really take in the power of that statement. How much of your life have you missed up until now by not being present? How much are you willing to miss moving forward?

I plan to take my summer of being present into the fall, winter, spring and next summer.

What I’ve Learned in the Process

It’s Hard Work!

Especially at the beginning.

Changing, creating, or discarding any habit is hard work at the beginning.  But, if your “why” is strong enough, you’ll persevere. For me, I was just really tired of looking back on so many fun events in my life and realizing that I wasn’t fully there.

For any of them.

But It Pays Off!

One day in August, after working at this for over two months, I realized that I was truly enjoying the moment and with relatively little effort! I don’t know when it became easier, but it did at some point in the process. Since then, I’ve had several times where I’ve been aware that I’m truly fully present, and it didn’t require me working at it.

There are definitely still and always will be situations where I do have to work at it. Our family is flying to a tropical destination for a family wedding, and I have to work to steer my mind away from worry about all of the possible things that could go wrong and ruin our trip and think instead about all of the positive things that I have to look forward to.

Maintaining my daily journaling habit has been a helpful tool in this journey. Two common reflection areas for me are:

  1. What does the version of me look like who is … (whatever I want to fill in the blank with that day);
  2. What are my thoughts and feelings that drive my actions, rather than the actual circumstances, AND that I have control over those.

Be Aware of the Barriers That Stand in Your Way

This is a huge topic of its own, but we all have barriers. And 95% of these barriers come from within us. They can stem from deeply ingrained core beliefs about how we view the world, or from general mindset issues.

I have grown up with the core belief that the world is not safe. This is largely where my constant anxiety and worry come from. My awareness of this belief helps me to find proof in my daily life that the world is, indeed, safer than I think.

Tell People What You’re Doing

Telling friends and family will provide you with accountability and, likely, support, as well. My husband has been amazing at giving me a gentle reminder when we are in a situation where he sees that I am not being as present as I could be. Telling others makes us vulnerable, but, typically, that is a mindset issue that we can overcome.

Also, finding a community of others who are working on similar goals is helpful. Those like minded people can be an excellent resource as well as a group who gets what you’re going through. Finding others has never been easier than it is now with all of the social media options, local meetups, etc.

Anxiety Has Been Significantly Less

I find that I am feeling better overall. Physically and emotionally. I am sleeping better and walking almost every day. It is hard for me to know whether I can attribute this wholly to my summer of being present, but I’m sure that there is a correlation.

I challenge everyone today: be where you are so you don’t miss out on your life. Whether we have a day left or 40 years, we deserve to find the joy in our experiences each and every day.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you find that worry and anxiety prevent you from experiencing joy in your day? Do you tend to worry about things that haven’t happened and likely won’t? What possible barriers or core beliefs might you be carrying around that are feeding into this?

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3 Comments
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Pamela Lamp

Great article! I’m sure I’ve missed a lot….

jen

There are many helpful mindfulness/meditation apps that we can install on our phones. Some have on-going programmes, weekly themes, etc.
This can be a really helpful resource. One of them has helped me very much to now live in the moment.

Anne

I so relate to missing out due to not being in the moment. I am either in the past thinking over regrets or thinking ahead of fears for the future. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anne

The Author

Leslie is the founder of Life Balance After 50 where she uses her background in counseling and behavior analysis to help women navigate their goals and dreams after 50. She created a free mini workbook along with a guide and a full-length workbook for women who are looking to redefine and find joy and purpose in their second half of life. Contact Leslie at Leslie@lifebalanceafter50.com.

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