Do you ever wonder why time starts to speed up so much as we get older? I’ve heard a few different reasons for this, like that our reference of time changes as we get older and days feel shorter because we’ve lived more of them. But the one that rings truest for me is that, as we get older, we become less present in the moment we’re currently in. As children, we’re processing moment to moment, and not a whole lot outside of that (thank god or else the idea of 13 years of going to school would have REALLY overwhelmed me lol). As adults, we begin to spend a lot of time dwelling in the past or fantasizing about the future. We spend very little time just appreciating where we are in this given moment, which makes the moments go by faster. And I’m not sure about you, but that FREAKS. ME OUT. I don’t want to worry my life away and miss out on all the amazing things happening right here, right now. So, what’s there to be done? Here are 3 things to help you stay present:
I know this is much easier said than done, but if you really want to be more present, you have to break the habit of not being present. Whenever you begin to feel yourself veering into the past or future, take a second to look around you. It can be a lot like talking yourself down from anxious feelings (which can also be caused by living in the past or future). Ground yourself. Count how many fingers you have, feel the feeling of whatever they’re touching. Breathe the air in, what do you smell? Paying attention to the senses helps remind you of where you are right now, and brings your focus back to that place. The mind will wander if we’re not paying attention, so it’s our job to bring more awareness to the process. And how do we do that? One way can be found below…
Meditation is a common theme here for me, but that’s because I truly believe it’s a key to contentment that many of us are missing out on. If our minds are constantly trying to solve things and plan for things and avoid things, we may begin to feel a bit exhausted. Or a lot exhausted. For me, it’s the latter. So we practice becoming more aware of the chatter in our minds by meditating. Meditation is not about not thinking, but more so about realizing that you are, and about what. We live inside the reality our mind makes for us, and think that that’s the only reality there is. But guess what? That’s not the case. There’s what’s going on in our minds and then what’s ACTUALLY going on in the world. Our reality is just the reality outside ourselves, filtered in through our own biases and assumptions. Which is why it’s so important to quiet that internal chatter regularly to let some new information in, and learn to separate ourselves from the voice inside our minds that we seem to so easily identify with.
LOVE YOUR LIFE
By no means am I saying I am an expert at this, because I most certainly am not, but it’s something I’m working on. We’re constantly thinking about all the things we’re looking forward to or all the things we may have done differently in the past, but if you take a second to just look around you, and switch your attention to simple appreciation about whatever good is in your life right now, it changes everything. Instead of constantly looking to the ways you want to better the future, see all the reasons your life is so wonderful right now. Instead of getting stuck in the past, use it as a reference point to see and appreciate how far you’ve come. Maybe you would have done it differently knowing what you know now, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t necessary, because it got you where you are today.
Sometimes I catch myself getting so excited for all the things we’re planning for in the next few years. I start scrolling through my calendar to the years ahead and imagining what it will be like. But then I stop and think of all the things I want to make sure I appreciate in this moment, because things are ever-changing and you never know what life will bring. Today, my mom is here and I can call her whenever I want. Moo is alive and well, and I still wake up to her sleeping on the pillow behind my head every morning. Dan and I and our families are healthy and happy. We have so much to look forward to. Right now we’re in the most magical moment that somehow we tend to rush through because we can’t wait for all the things to happen. But then they happen and life changes and we miss what it felt like to be here and look forward to it all.
Kind of like when we were teenagers and all we wanted was to grow up and be adults. We pretended like we already were, and imagined all the things we’d do and be when it was finally our time. And then we grew up. And is it anything like you pictured? Do you wish sometimes you could go back and tell your younger self to stop rushing? I know I do. And I know my parents tried, but of course I didn’t listen. Those early years were the most present we probably ever were in our lives. Can we make it back there?
There’s times when I’ll be walking Remi outside and, while she stops to sniff something (which happens every few feet or so I swear), I take a breath, pause my thinking, and look around me. And things look so different. It’ll actually feel like how I felt walking outside as a kid. I’ll breathe in the air, hear the wind rushing, crickets chirping, and notice the clouds changing shapes up above. I’ll see the sun reflecting off the leaves of a tree, and the shadow of those leaves cast on the sidewalk. There’s a new appreciation for it and, for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why I felt that sometimes and not others. Then it finally clicked: it’s because I’m PRESENT. Just like when I was a kid.
You want time to slow down? Enjoy every little beautiful morsel of your life. Linger. Trust that all that’s meant for you will come in its own time, and, in the meantime… use these 3 things to help you stay present.
Do you have trouble staying present? What have you found that’s helped you?
If you liked this post, you may also enjoy Let Fear Move Through You, So You Can Move Forward.