I have a really difficult time staying in the moment. I am always trying to plan my next steps that I often realize I miss out on what is going on in the present.
Planning gives me enormous comfort as I have mentioned quite a lot on this blog since the unknown is scary for me. The unpredictability that has become of my life for the past 13 years has really thrown me and I believe has forced my already “control oriented” personality into overdrive. My incessant need to know what my life has in store for me has crept into so many areas of my being. I actually find it quite fascinating how the mind works and how my brain has seemingly been programmed.
I went upstate this past weekend to my parent’s lake house with the intention of drowning out everything that was causing me any stress. I just needed some time to relax and think about absolutely nothing. My way of de-stressing usually involves a combination of either writing if the mood strikes or watching sitcoms. However, I noticed something that kind of threw me this weekend. By the time I got upstate it was around 4pm and I just wanted to put on pajamas, watch television and become engrossed in the lives of the fictitious characters on the screen. But, I found myself needing to make sure I had something to watch until the time I planned on going to bed.
I have been finding it impossible to relax lately so the fact that I was able to sit down and watch television was a huge deal for me. I wanted to capitalize on that but instead of paying attention to the show that was on the screen, I seemed to always be too busy checking the television guide to make sure I had something to watch next. It was strange and something I know I have done before but never really cared until this past weekend.
It made me realize that by being so focused on planning out what was going to be on tap for my entertainment next, that I was in fact actually missing what was going on currently. This has been the case for a lot of areas of my life because I am a planner by nature. I am not someone who relishes in the journey. I like having goals and attaining those goals. Anything in the middle that I do to work towards that is usually frustration, or something to be gotten through in order for me to get to where I really want to be.
I know this will take a lot of time for me to re-adjust my thinking in order for me to stay in the present moment, or be mindful. But the truth is that I believe this concept is difficult for many people and if we can at least acknowledge it, it is a step in the right direction. I know I will not wake up tomorrow and all of a sudden live in the present and not worry too much about having a plan for the future, or give very little thought to the rest of the day even. However, the fact that I actually noticed that I was missing out on the current television show by trying to desperately make sure I knew that there would be something to make me laugh in store for me later on in the night, was progress in and of itself.
I realized what I was doing and I am acknowledging it now. That is all any of us can do and it is always the first step towards changing something about yourself.