Since the beginning of the year, I’ve just had this feeling.
It’s not necessarily a bad feeling, I don’t think. It mostly feels like I’m moving in slow motion while the world around is me is fast-paced. And I’m sort of just standing there watching, waiting for something to happen. But simultaneously, I feel like there’s so much going through my brain, so many ideas and tasks I want to execute, and I’ve been doing everything bit by bit, then allowing new ideas to come and take their space, followed by me inserting them into my timeline.
But get this: I don’t feel busy. I don’t feel extremely rushed. Yes, there have already been a couple of nights when I find myself getting into bed sort of late, and thinking, Sheesh, where did the time go? But it hasn’t been full of frustration like I used to feel before. It seems I’m just taking things in stride?
And you know what I realized yesterday? I think I’m actually being present.
Maybe this feeling has been weird because I haven’t been accustomed to being present in a very long time. Even after quarantine last year, I found myself quickly slipping back into the busyness of life with work and creating and being a dog mom and still trying to find time to be social while social distancing, and the rush of everything became routine again.
But now, I feel as if every day has its own pace. I feel like I’m slowly and surely gaining traction, and covering the ground I need to in order to stay spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically in check. It doesn’t mean I don’t forget things, or I don’t leave some tasks unchecked, but I’m embracing this crazy beautiful life (isn’t that a Ke$ha song?) that God has for me right now.
Ways I’ve found to stay present?
- Make a list of tasks, but don’t dwell on it all day. There’s nothing wrong with planning! However, if you plan something(s), and you’re constantly thinking about it while at work or doing other things, there’s no way you’re keeping your full attention on what’s happening in front of you, or who you’re speaking to in that moment. Make a list, and let it go until the time comes for you to accomplish a task or two!
- Know that what you did was enough. Sometimes you have a list of to-dos, and not all of them get done. Pat yourself on the back for the things you did, and don’t stress over the stuff you didn’t do. This has allowed me to not feel guilt over not getting all my tasks done, but be able to say, “I lived pretty well today, I accomplished a lot of things I’d intended to, and that is enough!”
- Take things in stride. One moment, I tell myself I’m going to read when I hit the nap time (for the students) part of my day at work. If that time comes and I change my mind and want to blog or watch an episode of Bones instead, I’ll do those things. And I won’t feel guilty for not picking up my book, but will feel grateful for the much needed brain break after a long first half of the day. Sometimes what you initially planned on doing doesn’t happen, and you instantly decide to do something else in that present moment. Embrace that. Don’t scold yourself, or have second thoughts. Just do it.
- Remember time is precious. Last night, I was reading my Bible with my sisters, and we read about how Sarah, Abraham’s wife, died at the age of 127. I thought about how I would be 27 at the end of this year, and more than likely, I would not be able to live another 100 years like Sarah did. And that thought really shook me. To think I hav less than 100 years left, and so much still to do, I don’t want to waste anymore time. I want to really sit with it, and not wish it away. I used to wish away hours of work since, well, it’s work, and I’d rather be home doing other things. But the time I spend at work is still time that I’m living. Time I won’t ever get back. So, understanding the importance time has has kept me living more presently as well.
These aren’t the only things that have helped, but these are the things I can think about right now. I hope that as we continue in this year, anyone who’s reading this has been present. Because time moves fast! I feel like 2020 never really happened, even with all the unexpected twists and turns that occurred. I don’t ever want to feel like I lost another year of my life simply because I was too future- or even past-focused.
How have you been living this year? Are you still stuck in a cycle of busyness, or are you starting to learn to slow down? What are some things that you’re doing to keep from rushing through this life you’ve been given?