When I was younger, I automatically considered the cool kids were anyone older than me. Older kids could do the things that adults wouldn’t allow me, so I inevitably believed that I would experience an incredible life once I grew older. I saw the 4th graders have picnics outside of school. I couldn’t wait to turn 8 so I could eat my snack in the fancy park also. The middle schoolers had dances without the younger grades. So I couldn’t wait to turn eleven, twelve, thirteen, so I could dance the school day away. But what’s the fun in wanting what you can’t have?
As a woman who’s still in search of her inner purpose, I find it interesting to remember the days when I invested more of my days in dreaming about the future rather than focusing on the present. Don’t get me wrong; it’s healthy to look forward to the things we want to achieve. But it’s also unhealthy to wish away the here and now.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life so far has been to stay as present as possible. At first, I thought “stay present” was just a figure of speech. But lately I’ve been experiencing the consequences of not paying enough attention to the present moment. I’ve lost friends that I’ve loved, developed an inability to keep in touch with loved ones, and become an introvert. I worry so much about my future that I sometimes encourage myself to keep working on the things that matter least, rather than what I truly want to achieve today.
Unfortunately, the practice I began as a child caught up to me as I got older. The fact that I was a six-year-old who couldn’t wait to turn 8 robbed me of the years when I should’ve appreciated that my only responsibilities were to build sandcastles, colour outside the lines, and sing about Old McDonald’s farm. I should’ve been grateful that math homework wasn’t as hard to figure out yet. I should have enjoyed that my parents didn’t require me to help with as many chores. And when I was in high school, instead of daydreaming about the life I was going to live in my twenties, I should have been living the life I wanted.
I can’t undo my past, but I now know the truth. Living in the moment is more than just a mantra; it’s a healthy way to embrace whatever life throws your way. So the minute you start to wish you were further along, instead of feeling regretful or ashamed, feel satisfied and proud. You are present today, and that is enough. Enjoy the present; it will lead to an incredible life.