How I’m Slowly Learning To Stay Present In My Own Life

Am I the only one who feels like they are too busy to stay present in their day-to-day life?

Surely I’m not.

But lately, I’ve felt really alone in this harsh world. Maybe it’s because I’m too busy establishing myself to focus on what’s really happening around me. To put it simply, I feel like a goldfish, like I have a short attention span because I flit from task to task to complete my daily checklist.

Sure, I take days off to catch up on life when I can.

Typically, that means that I clear a day of my weekend so I have time to keep my sanity. After all, I still need to physically see my friends and enjoy time with them rather than video-chatting them from the corner of a strange building and hoping I don’t take too much time away from my work. 

I’m so intent on working my butt off that I let work consume my life.

I go from my 8-hour-a-day full-time job to my part-time job, where I work a minimum of 4 hours… if I’m lucky. I have half an hour to get from one job to the next, and I spend that time driving to the job, changing into my uniform, and eating if I have time. Then I go home, shower, crash, and wake up to do it all again. Even on weekends, I work anywhere from 4-9 hours per day at my part-time job. 

No matter how hard I work, I miss being myself. 

I miss spending satisfying days with people I love and going to bed feeling fulfilled. I’ve missed going home, turning out the lights, lighting a candle, and watching a movie in my room rather than going straight to bed. I miss impromptu nights out and spontaneous road trips because my friends and I have all the time in the world. 

Every time I hang out with my friends, I’m never fully present.

I’m either distracted, I’m exhausted, or I’m worried about things that I’ll never be able to change. And when I’m with my family, everyone says that I “work too much” and need to “enjoy life,” which seriously annoys me. I try to enjoy my life, but I struggle to find a balance between working and living. 

While I will always argue that working hard is extremely valuable and admirable, I also believe that we all need to stop and smell the roses. Throughout the chaos of my busy life, though, I’ve forgotten to do just that. Work has kept me so busy that I’ve missed everything that’s right in front of me. 

Sure, I still made an effort to prioritize the people and things that are important to me. But I never fully let my hair down, even though I should. Now, though, I’m making a conscious effort be present – and to not feel guilty about my choice to take a breather. 

I leave my phone in my purse when I’m with my friends and only take it out to snap a few pictures. Sometimes I splurge on concerts and vacations to treat myself. I visit friends I haven’t seen in a while or try to call them so we can talk for hours and genuinely catch up. And I make an effort to spend time with the loved ones who I know won’t be around forever and get to know the younger ones. 

Most importantly, I’m learning to do everything that makes me happy. I’m completely unapologetic about my work-life balance because I know that enjoying life is truly worth my time. 

Featured Photo via fashion_toast_.

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