Have you ever missed out on an experience, memory or opportunity of growth?  I definitely have.  Knowing this has made me aware that in certain situations I don’t always live my life to it’s fullest, I don’t always  focus on the here and now, I’m not Living in the Moment.

I am the type of person that will analyze the smallest things and reach for the best experiences.  Although this can make me a very thoughtful and motivated individual, I sometimes miss the real life situations that could make me happy.  Often times, I am more focused on what is going to happen vs. what is happening.  I’ve been this way since I was little.  Certain memories don’t exist because I was thinking about the what-ifs.  My childhood was fantastic but I often wandered in my own mind about all the possibilities of how a positive situation could turn bad.  I still do this as an adult.

I was not one of those little kids that broke the rules to make themselves happier.  I’ve walked a straight line that was perpetually stressful if I didn’t follow it.  If I didn’t do the same routine, get the same grades or follow the same rules, I felt as if my life wouldn’t have been complete and perfect.  Little did I know, I was missing out on the good stuff.

Typically not living in the moment begins at the first thought that enters my brain before an event happens.  I focus on how it’s going to be and what I am going to look like instead of going with the flow.  When the event actually occurs I’m not focusing on enjoying myself.  I’m focused on how it’s not going the way I planned, how I’m not portraying myself like I wanted to, what others think about me, if I didn’t eat or exercise correctly that day and how that particular situation could be better.  Once the event or experience is over, I think about how I should have spent the time thinking about how happy I am and not focusing on things that aren’t real.  This leads me into missing a moment in my life that could have been a great memory.

Although this doesn’t occur all the time, it definitely holds me back when I am trying to enjoy myself.  I realize that my own stresses, insecurities and what-ifs should be pushed aside and ignored.  If you are like me and find yourself not living in the moment, just remember that you have control over your thoughts and actions.  You don’t have to be a prisoner in your own mind, in fact, you can be your best friend, you can be your hero (see my post about Being Your Own Hero).

I notice that I don’t focus on the good things in my life when I’m overly stressed.  Finance, familial issues, and not being in tip top physical shape are constant worries of mine.  Instead of focusing on these temporary matters, I look for outlets that make me happy.  Running is a huge outlet and so is art and this website. If you can find things that make you happy in times of stress, then you can live in the moment.  This is because you are setting yourself up to be happy and stress free so that in the future, you aren’t seeking happiness elsewhere…you are just happy.  Your stress levels will be down and you can fully enjoy yourself at a party, social gathering or time spent with loved ones.  If you allow yourself to be happy in your everyday life, you aren’t setting yourself up for disappointment when something doesn’t happen the way you want it to.

Living in the moment doesn’t necessarily entail big milestones in your life.  You could be living in the moment when you are by yourself and looking up at the stars.  Give yourself the chance to enjoy the small things as well because there’s a chance that those moments could have a big impact.  Sometimes I go on a run late at night in the summer just to live in the moment of being by myself and to digest the amazing elements around me such as the warm weather, the clear sky and reflections on the lake.  In that moment, I’m happy.  Nothing is planned, I’m not anticipating an outcome, I am at peace.

Living in the moment has required that I dig deep within myself to understand why I feel a certain way.  Getting to the root of my dissatisfaction has helped me realize that everything that I think is a problem is actually nothing compared to the big picture.  Through Self-realization, one can find truths that hurt but an opportunity for growth and happiness that heals.

Here’s to living in the moment