Are You Living in the Moment or the Next Moment?

FOR PARENTS

Mom and Daughter at Sunset

Live in the moment, make it a memory…

Living in the moment. It is, supposedly, the key to happiness. I wouldn’t know – at least I didn’t know. Although I consider myself a pretty happy person, for my whole life I have been a person who lives in the next moment. I am great at telling my daughter to enjoy where she is. She has the rest of her life to work and to be married. Unfortunately, I am a fraud and this is a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do…”

I’ve tried. But for as long as I can remember, I have been this way. As a kid I couldn’t wait to get to the next grade and then to the next school. In college, I couldn’t wait to get out and start working. Then it was about looking toward the next promotion, the next job, getting married, buying a house, having a baby, when will she walk , when will she talk…you get the picture.

I try not to be a person who looks back. I did my share of it at times but ultimately found it didn’t really make anything different or better. Ah, but looking ahead, that’s a good thing, right? In many, many ways looking forward IS a good thing. We need to plan and set goals and prepare. But for me, I was living FOR the next moment and not stopping to take in what was happening now. I was pining more than preparing.

As my kids started to get older I started to feel this sense that time was running out. I became acutely aware that my time with them as part of my everyday life was getting shorter and shorter. I could not take time with them for granted anymore. I finally “got it” that preoccupying myself with what comes next was taking me away from the wonderful moments that were happening now.

The tween and teen years can be challenging times and it is sometimes easy to wish this time away. Tweens are in a place where so much is about friends and finding independence that it can feel that they don’t really need us or even like us anymore. But they do. It’s just not as obvious. We are used to them making it abundantly clear that we are a nuisance and are ruining their lives. Don’t be fooled. If you can, pay close attention to those small moments when your kids want to include you in their world. When your daughter says, “Mom, come look at this,” squelch that reaction to say that you’re busy or in the middle of something else. Go! Take advantage of that moment and make that connection in the window of time that they are asking to share with you.

As unproductive as it may be to always look forward, it is heartbreaking to look back with regret. I have found that in my new commitment to living in the moment, I have never had a regret about stopping to watch a YouTube video that they thought was funny or sit with them for a movie we’ve watched five times before. The world never came to an end when I left the office early to catch a baseball game. There will always be work to catch up on, laundry to fold and bills to pay but you can’t get back these precious moments with your kids when, even in their tween angst, they still want to share a part of their life with you. Take it, relish it, savor it. It may only be a moment, but if you are truly there, it will become a precious memory.

All the best,

Vicki

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