Being in the midlife stage has taught me that waiting to enjoy moments in life is a futile strategy. This is for the simple reason that I miss the moments that could bring me peace and happiness because I am waiting for the next special day (Christmas/birthdays) or special occasions (anniversaries/invitation to dinner).
I treat life in between as humdrum normal days. That is not the way to live.
For instance, yesterday I missed the whole point of embracing the joyous moment of my daughter sending me a photo of herself dressed up for her Xmas work dinner. I missed out on two levels: 1) that she remembered me moments before setting off for the dinner; and 2) it was her first work related Xmas party because she entered the workforce full-time in November after graduating from her Masters degree.
My concentration has been around getting ready for Christmas, which is two weeks away! I worked till late and turned my mind to what I would need to do at the weekend in the way of Xmas preps.
It seems that I am way too goal oriented which, apparently, is a typical boomer trait. According to research, ‘Baby boomers are goal centric’. ‘They were raised with the idea of the American dream, and they push themselves to reach their goals’.
I am not American and I wasn’t raised with the American dream dangling in front of me as a carrot but all cultures, in my opinion, contain large traces of the dream. I was born and brought up in Asia, fed a diet of American sitcoms like ‘Green Acres’ and American dramas like ‘Dallas’. The American dream has porous borders.
Why can’t everyday moments be goals too? Why is it so hard to live in the present and savour nice moments which occur in a day?
Three Misconceptions about Being Present in “The Now”
Some people live a life looking backward and forward most of the time. That’s in part because of some half-truths and misunderstandings about being present. Here are three of the biggest misconceptions about focusing on the present moment in time.
1 – Having a Conscious Presence Isn’t About Being Impulsive
As your environment changes around you, the present moment changes. This leads some people to believe that embracing the right now means jumping from one thing to another. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Living in the present doesn’t mean impulsively acting on the moment. You recognize it. You allow it to happen. You involve as many of your senses as possible. You are aware and mindful of your current state of being and what’s happening around you.
2 – Present Moment Awareness Isn’t Selfish
This is not a self-serving practice. You aren’t “doing” or “not doing” anything to serve yourself. You are simply allowing the present moment to include you. This is an observance of your inner self at the present time.
It leads to more gratitude and less selfishness. In the worst of times, you realize that you’re still breathing in and out. You focus on your breath. What a wonderful thing to be grateful for. Amid any turmoil you may experience, you have the breath of life. You’re still here. If anything, embracing the current moment leads to more selflessness and less of a selfish attitude.
3 – Focusing on the Present Isn’t about Laziness
Being in the present doesn’t mean ignoring your responsibilities. There are things you need to do to keep a roof over your head and to take care of your loved ones. Spending time in the present moment doesn’t mean lazily shirking your responsibilities.
Embracing the present moment can be uplifting. It’s a powerful way to improve your life that’s been used for thousands of years worldwide. Your benefits are less stress, more happiness, and a better realization of who you are. Try to be more present in your life for these and other significant wellness rewards.
So fellow midlifers, there are a lot of benefits of living in the present moment. Embrace your current reality, your existence around you right now. Healthwise, being mindful of the present moment has been proven to reduce high blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
Go embrace your moments. I am off to call my daughter to find out how it all went at her office Xmas do.