Live Your Life in the Moment
It’s finally Friday night, the beginning of a weekend of freedom, which also happens to include your birthday. Your family, friends and boyfriend all have celebratory plans for you.
You’re doing well in school, on a winning team and are surrounded by beautiful people who want to rejoice in your life. As you walk out to your car to officially kickoff the fun, a giddy thrill washes over you.
But, as you click the seatbelt into place, rather than sitting in awe of how blessed you are, a list of concerns begin worming their way into your consciousness: “I need gas, but the conveniently located gas station charges more than others … I hope it’s not a surprise party … Maybe I should get the diet soda I like before going home … I haven’t been to the gym all week … Did I remember to make that change on my paper before I turned it in today?”
And so it goes.
“I think we’ve all had this experience, which often has us psychically living 30 minutes into the future – no matter how great the present circumstances might be,” says Steve Gilliland, author of the widely acclaimed Enjoy The Ride, who is set to publish a follow-up Detour, Developing the Mindset to Navigate Life’s Turns. “Are we doomed to this torrent of noise which distracts us from enjoying our life? We don’t have to be.” Here are five things to help you embrace the moment, so you can slow down your life and enjoy the ride.
Don’t live your life 30 minutes ahead of the present.
If you won’ t live your life now, in the present, then who will?
“An older man came up to me, grabbed my hand, and said he wished he’d heard me speak decades ago,” Gilliland says. “After I asked why, he said that when he was eating lunch on break or dinner with his family, he was always thinking about what he had to do after the meal, which represented his daily life. ‘ At the age of 97,’ he said, ‘I’ve officially lived my life 30 minutes ahead’ – 30 minutes ahead of whatever he was doing at the moment.”
Laugh more! It’s better than crying before you’re hurt.
Don’ t put your umbrella up until it rains. Worry restricts your ability to think and act effectively, and it forces you to mortgage fear and anxiety about something that may never occur. Laughter is the opposite. When you laugh, you’ re living almost completely in the moment, and it’ s one of the best feelings you can have.
No one can ruin your day without your permission.
As much as we cannot control in life –our genes, our past and what has led up to today – there is much control we may take upon ourselves. Today, for example, we can understand that life picks on everyone, so when the going gets tough, we don’ t have to take it personally. When we do take misfortune personally, we tend to obsess, giving a legacy to something that may make you a day poorer in life.
Cure your destination disease.
Live more for today, less for tomorrow, and never about yesterday. How? You might have to repeatedly remind yourself that yesterday is gone forever, yet we perpetually have to deal with now, so why not live it? And what if tomorrow never occurs? There is a difference between working toward the future, which is inherently enjoyable in light of hope, and living in an unrealistic future that remains perpetually elusive. If tomorrow never comes, would you be satisfied with the way today ended?
Ask God for Direction.
God has a purpose for your life and He loves to guide you through that purpose. He will show you what to do next, so ask Him. But, when He gives you an emotion to enjoy, a purpose or place to pursue, or a moment to resonate in, then enjoy it, soak it in and rest in it. Don’ t wait in the shadows moping about everything else that crowds you. God knows what needs to be done to relieve your stress and He has a plan to help you attack that tension.
“It is not how you start in life and it is not how you finish,” Gilliland says. “The true joy of life is in the trip, so enjoy the ride!”