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My Summer of “Being Present”

By Leslie Moon July 19, 2022 Mindset

As a 60-year-old woman who has experienced anxiety in some form since the age of six, it’s been an intense couple of years.

In the past two and a half years, I’ve made the decision to fade out of a career that I loved because it was becoming more difficult to do every day as I got older (a hard fact to face).

I began to pursue my lifelong dream of writing, and set up my website and blog, Life Balance After 50. I did this shortly before the world shut down with a global pandemic. That blog and its community of women was more of a godsend than I could have imagined.

This spring, my husband and I purchased a beach home which is turning into a much more involved project than we were ready for. Not a big problem, I know, but stressful nonetheless.

And two of my grandchildren were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes within months of each other.

What Led to My Decision to Work on Being Present

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting – the events of this spring on the heels of the pandemic did something to me – something that is hard for me to put into words. Especially the diagnosis of my two grandchildren. This diagnosis made me upset, worried, and grateful all at the same time.

It also made me take a look at how I approach everything.

And at the effect my anxiety has on every single thing I do.

I live, overall, a joyful life. But my anxiety robs me of the ability to be present in the moment and fully experience the joy in what I’m doing. I could be swimming with my giggling grandchildren and be worrying about time, dogs, others in the family, my husband flying, or why my toe hurts. The list goes on and on. I never ever run out of things to worry about – real or imagined.

It saddens me to say that, in my entire life, I cannot think of a time or a joyful occasion where I was fully present.

And while I am not too old for anything I really want to do, one thing I AM too old for is to continue to rob myself of the joy in these moments.

My Program Launch

Last year, I created a program for the women in my community who were interested in redefining after 50 in some way.  I launch this program quarterly and this past June, the program was scheduled to roll out. I sent one email to my subscriber list and stopped.

Typically, I get super excited about it. I love my program and am proud of it!

But something was different this time.

I sent out the first email about the program. And that was the only one I sent.

It just wasn’t feeling right this summer. I didn’t need to roll out my program just because “it was time.” I didn’t need to add something else to the mix in my world to distract me from being self-aware.

This summer was going to be about looking inward. And being present.

What Does “Being Present” Look Like?

It requires constant self-awareness. Reminding myself each time I start worrying about something that hasn’t occurred yet, to pull myself back into where I am.

It involves things like:

  • Taking an hour or two AND a book in the middle of the day and sitting by the pool without worrying about what else I should be doing OR what time it is;
  • Sitting with my parents enjoying a glass of wine for the month that they’re here WITHOUT worrying about time or dinner;
  • BEING in the moment. Feeling the grass under my feet, smelling the rain, snuggling my grandchildren, sitting outside and laughing with my husband;
  • Taking as many moments as I possibly can each day to think about and marvel at all of the things that I have to be grateful for;
  • Being present in this community and in my content creation.

What Does “Being Present” Not Include?

Worry

Getting rid of this is way easier said than done, but awareness that it is an issue is the first step. As I have been working on this, it has amazed me how constant my worry is. And most of the things that I’m worrying about are very likely NOT to occur. It has been real work to stop these thoughts. But it’s happening! Slowly, but surely.

My Phone

For many of us, this is our biggest distraction – the thing that most prevents us from being present in any moment. I have been making it a point, whenever possible, NOT to have my phone right at my side. It distracts me from engaging with the people around me as well as from the work that I’m trying to do in the moment.

I’ve heard from many of the women in my community with whom my struggle has resonated. It’s been validating, yet saddens me, too, that this seems to be so common among us. It’s not too late to turn this around.

Do you feel that you struggle with not being present? If so, how does it show itself? What sorts of things have you tried to remedy it?

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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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