Life happens now
My best friend moved to Canada three years ago and just three weeks ago she came home for a vacation. She was looking forward to this vacation for a long time. It turned out not so great because her and her husband had a lot of obstacles and problems, some involving health issues and too much obligations to take care of. About ten days into their vacation, we discussed their disappointment with their vacation. The disappointment was so obvious that she and her husband looked completely depressed. So much waiting and anticipation to see their vacation turning into discomfort.
I told them it seemed to me all they did for the past year after they had booked the tickets was living in the future in that “fictional” vacation and when it finally came, their expectations were so high that they burned out.
It was a classic story of living in the future without enjoying in the now. I felt so bad for them. But after I told them how they put all their bets into this vacation and neglected their real life happening in the now, they agreed.
We all experienced this type of situation at least once in our lives. “When I get this thing, I will be happy” or “When I go on that vacation, I will rest and enjoy.” But how happy is this kind of living?
Yes, living mindfully in the present moment is the most important thing. Why? Because anything else means missing out on our lives. If we worry about the future or anticipate something that will “make us happy”, we stop being aware of the present moment. If we regret or analyze situations from the past, again we invoke negative emotions which overrun our present and again, we stop living in the now.
This is not a cliche but the actual truth. When is life happening if not in this exact moment?
The best example is living for the weekend. We get up every morning for work, counting down how many days till the weekend. With each day closer to the weekend, we feel slightly better but not happy. We will be happy when the weekend comes, right? Doesn’t it mean having five out of seven days per week unhappy?
When life serves lemons…
This was one of my biggest obstacles to feeling fulfilled. That is why I have decided to work on being happy and fulfilled every day. Sure, life will not always serve bananas and strawberries, occasionally we will get lemons. So, I won’t cry over it but will make a lemonade and sweeten it with honey or sugar.
It is impossible to always be happy and fulfilled. Sometimes there is a work stress which cannot be avoided and it will be so overwhelming that at the end of the days we will just feel tired and drained. However, it will not happen every day. So, let’s use each moment and make something out of it, so that our lives don’t pass without our awareness. If we are stressed, we should be aware that we are stressed and just let it happen knowing that it is not permanent and it will pass.
No matter what we experience, life happens now. And now is the time to make our best with what we got. If we wait it out just to get to the weekend, it means we won’t live for five days but only two. And most probably we will spend our weekend thinking what lies ahead worrying what kind of week we will have to go through again. There you have it, again anticipating and worrying about the future, letting the present moment to slip again.
I stopped anticipating my vacations and weekends a long time ago because I realized I have to make the most right now. It is OK to look forward to it, but I never lose out of sight that it is the future which is not yet happening. I will enjoy when it comes. But right now, all I have is this moment. And I am determined to shape it in the best possible way to be happy and fulfilled.