Friday, June 24, 2011

When One Moment Passes, There's Another Right Behind It

Upon returning from my two-week honeymoon last month, I found myself thinking a lot about time limits. Not deadlines, exactly, but rather periods of time you know won't last. (I guess life is a period of time we know won't last, but bear with me...)

On vacation, you don't really know if the time you have in a particular city or a particular park or at a particular restaurant will be your one and only, so you generally tend to soak it up in a most magnificent in-the-moment way. You live each second. You enjoy experiences to an extent you might not at home. Because home is available. Like the nice guy you put off dating because you know he'll always be there waiting for you.

My return from Italy left me thinking, "how can I create that same sense of urgency and commitment to the moment in my day-to-day life?"

I did it when I got laid off in 2003. I got up every morning and made the most of every day—sometimes writing for hours on end—because I knew it wouldn't last forever.

But in the safety of my gainfully employed nest, I can't seem to push myself to live with the kind of vigor that comes naturally on trips and during bouts of joblessness. And unfortunately, once you've experienced that feeling, when you're not sensing it you sort of feel like you're not living.

If only I could fully convince my brain that life is short and every day counts, even if they're spent at your stand-up desk.

I want to be burning with desire to write. I want to hustle to churn out query letters or Etsy business cards or even that scrapbook of my half marathons. But I keep thinking I have all the time in the world for that. All the time in the world to fritter away on Tivo and Facebook.

Any suggestions on how I can get myself to start making more—making the most—of every moment? Even if it's not in a piazza in Italy?


Wow, that was awkward said...

Make some easy goals to achieve on the way to the bigger harder ones. And freaking enjoy living in the moment, Mel!

HHP said...

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 1/29/12

HunnerWoof said...

I found that practicing daily gratitude helps a lot in learning to live in the moment and enjoy even the most routine or mundane experiences. Set aside some time each little as 2 minutes. And for that entire time, run through things for which you're grateful. It can be people, feelings, experiences, memories, smells, foods...really anything. Make it a habit of varying things a little bit, even though I find my "I'm grateful fors" generally start with the same two or three things (hey, they're THAT important). Do it every day. After a while you'll find yourself relishing even the simplest and morst everyday of moments because you'll mentally be adding them to your grateful list. I usually do it at the beginning of my day because it sets the tone.

Good luck!

Janice MacLeod said...

I hear you, sister. My days in Paris have become vast expanses of "Now what do I want to do" and much of that time is NOT writing or painting (what I want to do) but is frittered away surfing blogs and facebook. And I'm in frickin' Paris for gosh sakes.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

So, I agree with you, but sort of don't. I totally agree that we tend to really soak in everything when we're on vacation or at a special restaurant, etc. But, I don't think we need to or even should expect to live our regular day to day lives with that exact same vigor. If we did, then nothing would stand out and everything would feel monotonous and the same. Instead, I think it's OK to enjoy each day, appreciate what you have, etc., but do so on a smaller scale, so the big trips, concerts and life events still stand out.

Anonymous said...

I guess that's why people always say that you should do what you love for a living. But, let's face it, the reality of life is that the vast majority of us won't be able to do that, because the world just wouldn't work if everyone who wanted to write or act or travel did that. I'm sure the guys who pick up your garbage every week wish they were doing something else, too.

Maybe you should move to Europe, where companies more routinely sanction extended sabbaticals with a guarantee of employment on one's return...

Mel Heth said...

WowTWA - I'll try to freaking enjoy living in the moment. But it's haaaaard!

HHP - When's the registration cutoff?

HunnerWoof - I don't know when you went to guru school, but I'm guessing you were valedictorian. I've done gratitude journals in the past and may start one up again to help me focus on the positives of the present moment, rather than my crow's feet and lacking sense of purpose in life.

Janice - I feel like you're DOING what the "now what" is. You have every right to just hang out out there - you're writing your own life's story.

Nilsa - I broached this with Mr. W last night and (like I knew he would) he said, "I can't turn it off! I could never commit to not thinking about it!" So I guess we need to be able to think about the future but still just try really hard to be present most of the time too.

Geekhiker - I DO do what I love for a living. I just want to do it in a different part of the state in a few years. :) And Europe? Tried that for 6 weeks - I'd never last living over there. Vacation is a totally different experience than trying to actually exist in foreign society.