I often get told to live in the moment, but what does that mean? I live in the future (making plans, devising schemes) or sometimes the past (deriving lessons, reminiscing with friends). When a family has jobs to go to, bills to pay, kids needing school supplies, dinners to cook and bagged lunches to plan, living in the moment seems kind of irresponsible! A slacker’s lifestyle for sure!
But when I was planning my morning shopping, it hit me. Living in the moment means having the past and future already well ordered, thus being more aware and present in the now.
I’ll use lunch as an example (since everyone can relate to food).
I was deciding what I needed to buy for lunch (the future). I checked see what food I had already (the past). I didn’t need any veggies because I had yesterday’s salsa (lesson from the past brought forward). I needed some sort of meat for lunch (plan for the future), so my only necessary action in the present was a trip to the butcher.
My past lessons and future needs made deciding on the actions in the now very simple. I didn’t have walk all over the village figuring out what I needed as I went along, getting more stressed as lunch got closer. Shopping that way could have left me with too much or not enough (and a headache).
Instead, I had a nice leisurely stroll to the butcher, got exactly what I needed, stopped to talk to a few people along the way and even made a detour to the bakery to buy a <<chausson>>, a square croissant filled with apple sauce. Mmmm…
Munching on my chausson, I realized that all of my life could be arranged just as simply. By recognizing needs for the future and by learning from past experiences, I could enjoy the present so much more – without worries and with the freedom to make on-the-fly changes in a rational manner (instead of out of panic – oh no! do I need bread?!?).
The trick will be to see if I can follow my own advice when my life isn’t centered on leisurely days in southwest France.
- The present is more enjoyable when the past and future are taken care of first.
- Having a plan doesn’t mean you can’t change your actions in the present if it will produce a better result.
Melt-in-your-mouth sausages with leftover salsa.