We all know that the only moment we have is the one we are in presently. We may wish to, but we cannot relive the past, and despite hoping and planning and even wishing, the future is still just that—the future. It has not come, and when it does arrive, it is often much different than we thought it would be.
Little children are often told not to try to grow up too fast, to enjoy their childhood. This statement is interesting because much of a child’s time and energy is spent playing at what it is like to be an adult. Conversely, some older adults seem only to want to remember their past. It appears as if we live our lives between the past and the future, trying to find the balance of the present. So many things seem to make that balance challenging to achieve, let alone maintain.
Throughout our lives, we wait eagerly for so many things. We anticipate the start of school, look forward to celebrating things like birthdays and Christmas. We look forward to having someone special visit us. We wait until we are old enough for milestones. For instance, joining a particular organization or team. We look forward to being able to drive. The list goes on and on.
Many things can make it difficult to live in the moment, to take life one day at a time. A sudden loss or the diagnosis of an illness on the part of ourselves or someone close to us can make us anxious for another time. Many people in circumstances of drastic external change express the desire to “get their life back,” to return to a time when things were or at least seemed more straightforward and to make more sense than what was going on in the present moment. It is hard to live one day at a time when we do not like what our life experience at the moment is.
There is a difference between liking the life we have today and being content with our life as it is in the present. Being content may involve accepting some things we cannot change. It can also include being ok with things as they are for the moment. It is a mark of real maturity to be able to focus your energy and attention what is occurring right now. The operative word in living one day at a time is balance. Living in the moment does not mean we can not have fond memories of the past and hopes for the future. Instead, it is the realization that where we are right now is the very best place we can be today.
As a way of living in the present, look at your life concerning what has gone before and what you think or hope will come after. Start with some easy comparisons, especially if there are some painful memories from your past or some real or imagined fears about what the future might hold for you. Given that today is the reality each of us has, how can we make the most of right now. How can we live the best today possible?
This practice is not easy, and sometimes we will make mistakes. We may at times disappoint ourselves or others. A goal as we move forward is to look back on each day and know we did the best we could do given what we know and what we have to use. That is the day to day secret to a life well lived. I hope you enjoy the journey and become really good at moving forward the only way we can–one day at a time.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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