A couple of years ago, I found myself in a phase of life that I considered to be stressful. I had recently made the decision to retire and was transitioning into that new schedule. My husband and I were building a second home at the beach which was very exciting but also making us nervous – it had become a bigger project than we had expected.
Additionally, I had two grandchildren who were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – and for anyone who lives with that in themselves or their kids or grands, you know that it’s a life changing diagnosis.
I had also just turned 60 which really had me reflecting.
There was a lot happening – some really good and some not as great. And my anxiety level, which is always elevated, was high.
I made the decision that summer to work on the practice of being present.
And being present is the one resolution that I will continue into 2024. It has been life changing.
The answer is simple.
Not being present robs us of experiencing the joy in the moment.
I realized that in my 60 years of life, I had very rarely been present in my life. That saddened me. I’ve had so much joy in my life. Trips with my husband, playing with my sons, cooking with my grandchildren, time with friends, and the list goes on.
In 99% of those moments, I was thinking or worrying about something that had ZERO to do with that moment in time.
And, what’s even worse, I was often worrying about something that wasn’t ever even going to happen!
This had to stop!
Working on this was a constant effort, at first. I knew going in that worry and anxiety had ruined many of the moments in my life, but I had no idea really how prevalent it had been until I began holding myself accountable.
And, I’d been doing it for 60+ years! Now, I just require a gentle reminder to myself to be present when I catch my mind wandering. Although, if I’m honest, I’m still gently reminding myself more than I’d like to be!
On this side of 50, being self-aware is the best thing that we can do for ourselves.
We aren’t going to necessarily magically shed our negative core beliefs and our anxiety. But being self-aware can allow us to understand where our fears and anxieties are coming from, that we will be okay, and give us the courage to move forward in finding our joy and following our dreams at this stage of the game!
I say “truly” because I think a lot of times we are encouraged to find things to be grateful for and we “name” them but don’t “feel” them.
In being present, I feel them. In the moment.
I love more than almost anything, spending time with my grands. Previously I would be with them and would be worrying about countless different things that had zero to do with what was going on. Or, I’d worry about the boys wrestling and getting hurt. Or, what we were going to do for dinner. Or, when Mom and Dad were going to get back and if they’d be safe. Or, or, or……
Now, I take a minute to revel in their laughter. Or watch the boys wrestle and know that they will, in all likelihood, be just fine and am grateful that they are brothers but also friends. I listen when my grandson tells me all of the things that I need to know about Minecraft and Fortnight and am grateful that he is sharing his world with me. I play catch in the driveway with the four-year-old and am grateful that I am able to move my body even though my back may hurt a bit.
Small ways of practicing being present are infinite.
My word for 2024 is “presence.”
What are some ways of being present that you could start practicing in your daily life? Have you done this before? Do you tend to zone out instead of being present when out and about?