We are all guilty of sometimes Living in the past, or even more so, living in wait for the future. I believe there is a real art to learning how to live in the present. I think there are very few of us to whom this comes naturally and that for the majority, this takes some work.
When I was in my twenties, I felt that I was living in wait for my “real life” to begin – you know, marriage, kids, house, etc. I was finishing law school, establishing my career, dating or hanging out with a boyfriend, but it didn’t feel like this was the life I was going to be living “ever after” so it wasn’t technically my “real life”. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly had a lot of fun during that decade, but in hindsight, I see this was my mind set.
In my very early thirties, I was still dating. I had many other single girlfriends in their late 20’s and early 30’s and I noticed a trend. I noticed that we fell into the trap of evaluating each guy we dated as possibly “the one”. There was a lot more anxiety over whether we would get married and have a family and the “ever after” we had all pictured since childhood. We all had good jobs, lots of friends and busy lives… but we were living “in wait”.
I’m not sure if it happened overnight, but it seemed to hit me like a thunderbolt one day… WHAT IF I didn’t meet the guy and I didn’t get married? What if my “real life” never started? What did that say about how I was living my life today? Was I just wasting time? This had a HUGE impact on me and I literally changed my entire mind set about life and how I was living it.
I made a conscious decision to start living in the here and now. If this was it, then it better be good and only I had the power to make that happen. I took advantage of single life and did all of the things I wanted to do. I also stopped thinking about every date as possibly being “the one” and just enjoyed going out and meeting new and interesting people. When I eventually met my husband at age 34, it was so very natural and there was truly no thinking involved. It just happened.
I have carried over my epiphany into my now “real life” of marriage, kids and career and try to live each day as it comes. It’s not always easy – I can sometimes live “in wait” for the weekend or an upcoming family trip, but I think there is a fine line between looking forward to something in the future versus living in wait for it.
We hear too often that life is too short and it is so easy to forget when we get caught up in our busy day-to-day lives. Sometimes there is a tragedy or something very big that happens that acts as a reminder, however, before long, we just fall back into the old pattern. I feel like living in the present requires a constant reminder, because if we don’t remind ourselves then life just passes us by. And nobody wants that.