I became teary-eyed the other day thinking about my own mother. I had been reflecting back on the things she’s done for me in my 25 years of life, the beautiful memories I’ll forever cherish. I cried happy tears pondering the past. My eldest daughter recently transferred from the Language Development Centre to a mainstream school, and I’ve had the difficult task of juggling school runs at two different schools. As I found myself feeling overwhelmed and under the pressure of getting my children to school on time, I started reminiscing about the 13 years that my own mum drove me to school. I thought about her driving us four children, and how at one stage, she was juggling three schools at once. I wondered how she coped with the repetitive nature of these school runs. I wondered how she did this for a total of 23 years. I asked myself whether I would be capable of doing the same for my three daughters? Then I realised that my mum probably spent less time focused on the future and the years ahead, but instead on the present. That focusing on the now and living in the moment is probably what got her through.
The busyness of life
When Alisha had her last day at the Language Development Centre in December, I felt quite sad thinking about the three years she spent at that school. How her last year as a Year 1 student went by so incredibly fast. How I spent so much time rushing her to and from school that I never truly cherished the moment. How I formed a good relationship with her teacher, but never fully got to appreciate it because I was so busy rushing back and forth.
Truth be told, my life is still just as complicated and busy as it was back then. My life is still busy with my three children, the school runs, their appointments, my job working from home. I know that in order to build our dream house, I have to work hard at this present time and that’s why I’m making the sacrifices that I am now.
But as busy as life is, I know that I need to stop and smell the proverbial roses sometimes. I’ll be so busy rushing around and getting things done, I’ll be too emotionally and physically exhausted to even feel accomplished. I’ll be moving forward but without any vivid memories of the past.
Cherishing the present moment
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Often we are so focused on what lies ahead, we forget to cherish what lies in front of us right now. We’re so overwhelmed, for example, by the years in a degree or course we still have to finish, the hours and hours of work we still have to put into a certain task, the many goals we still have yet to accomplish.
But what about today? What about the time we have right now? What about putting less stress on ourselves when it comes to the future, but instead relieving ourselves of the immense pressure at this very moment? What about forgetting the next 17 years that I’ll probably be driving my children to school, but instead appreciating the time that I have with my children at all?
Truth is, my children are going to grow up. They’re going to become more independent, lead their own lives, and move out of the family home one day. These present experiences will one day become a distant memory. But if I keep focusing on how much harder life will get, I won’t be appreciating the much more important things – like seeing them smile, seeing them laugh, seeing them grow up.
I can’t be looking ahead all the time. I need to be looking around at what I have at this present moment and appreciating it while it’s still here.
Living in the moment
It’s always easier said than done to promise ourselves to cherish the present moment. Sometimes our mind is clouded with anxious thoughts about the future. But what sort of life are we living if we’re so focused on moving forward, that we don’t stop and enjoy the now?
As busy as I’ll be rushing my children to different schools for the next two years, I’m going to start doing things a bit differently. I’m going to try to be a bit more mindful of the present moment and less so about my future.
Living a happy and fulfilling life isn’t just about doing what we can to move forward, but also about stopping to enjoy the present moment that we have right now.