The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Living in the moment

on August 6, 2015

When exactly did I stop living in the moment?

It’s never a conscious decision is it?

 

Just one of those things that creeps up on you slowly. The endless to do list. The finite hours in a day. The demands that pull you in all different directions.

 

The odd thing is that our quest to get everything done is usually to allow us the time and luxury to live in the moment. I should amend that to say to allow us the time and luxury to live in the moment guilt free.

 

We are never going to get the endless to do list finished. There will always be something we ought to be doing. Something we are forgetting to do. This need to fill all our time with something!

 

Then the other day, #1 not for the first time said to me, “Mummy, can you stay and watch us swim please?”.

 

#1 and 2 have swimming lessons every Tuesday afternoon. Usually I drop off them by the pool downstairs and spend that 45 minutes getting on with something else. I often watch them from upstairs every now and then to see how they are doing but from the start the Swim Coach had advised they are much more focussed if no parents are around.

 

Lately, #1 has started asking if I can stay and watch them swim and because I have already mentally planned how I’m going to spend that 45 minutes, there’s a moment in my mind of “But when am I going to do x?”.

 

Time to be still is such a rarity these days that it somehow feels wrong. I refer to long, lazy afternoons and late boozy nights and hours spent reading books and magazines, wandering around aimlessly and making spur of the moment decisions to do this or that as an era of my life in the very distant past.

 

How did this happen? How did this happen indeed.

 

There comes a time when suddenly time is no longer your own to squander as you please. Be it Gainful Employment, family, small people commitments. Something changes. I need to plan my time and be thinking several hours, days, weeks ahead.

 

We are so busy. And even when we are not busy we can busy ourselves on various handheld devices. Checking up on the news, social media, screen shopping. Scrolling down endless pages for nothing in particular. I could be reading a book or watching television instead of writing this.

 

#1, 2 and 3 are the busiest people I know. During their waking hours they are constantly doing something. Eating, playing, fighting, talking, watching television, pottering around. The only time they are truly still is when they are asleep or not feeling well. But their kind of busy is very reactionary to the present moment. They are truly living in the moment. No concern for the past or the future. It’s all about the now.

 

An example of this is the full on melt down from #2 yesterday afternoon. Each were in possession of a sweet that I said they could eat after dinner. #1 reluctantly was abiding to this and preventing #3 from wolfing down hers. #2 had already eaten hers after seemingly not having heard the terms and conditions. Now I hope to you and me, it would make sense that if you had eaten your sweet before dinner then you shouldn’t feel left out if I eat mine after dinner whilst you have nothing because you’ve already had yours.

 

But no, a full on meltdown ensued from #2 because ‘I want a sweet’. No amount of reasoning was going to cut it. This was repeated on loop with full on hysterics for quite some time. This is living in the moment extreme. 

 

I am not the first to admit this because I’ve heard other parents say the same thing. That when small people ask us to do something, we often reply with “In a moment”, “Not just yet”, “Later”. It’s just not always feasible to drop everything and tend to those needs and besides the Generic Parenting Guides advocate that small people need to learn to wait a little. But it’s when there are too many moments of “In a moment”, “Not just yet” and ‘Later”, that I realised what exactly am I thinking of doing that can’t wait until later?

 

I have become so accustomed to the process of doing and fulfilling the taking care of needs of #1, 2 and 3 that I am totally forgetting to take enjoyment and pleasure of living in the moment with them doing absolutely nothing. Slowly though, as #1 and 2 become more independent and I am not constantly worried about them falling off this and that or falling into that and the other that I can take a step back and focus on them. Rather than focus on keeping them safe. Or trying to have half a conversation with a friend whilst we are both keeping an eye on the small people. It’s a different living in the moment to the bygone era I recall but it’s bringing into focus the need to concentrate on the here and now.

 

So what exactly happened when I sat down by the pool watching #1 and 2 swim whilst #3 pottered around nearby? Absolutely nothing. I can’t even remember what I was going to do in that hour. Whatever I didn’t do obviously wasn’t that important. Instead, I sat on a sun lounger and just quietly watched them swim and play. For their part, I don’t even need to be in the pool with them, I just need to be there.

 

And how simply restoring it is to just sit quietly watching my children play on an ordinary day. Because there will come a time when I am no long chasing endless to do lists and have plenty of time to live in the moment which will probably be used reflecting on the past and I hope I will have many such memories to reflect upon.

 

NB This is not the pool downstairs before you think how incredibly spoilt we are!

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