I’ve always been a big fan of to-do lists and bucket lists. They help me to stay on track and to remember everything I wanted to do within a certain period of time. I not only love to write them but even more to cross off the tasks I have done or accomplished.
However, I have to admit that I often find myself stressing about all the things I haven’t done yet instead of being proud of everything I did do.
I think it’s important to set yourself goals that you’re working on and to look forward to the future, but we often forget to live in the current moment. We spend so much time longing for the past or waiting for the future to arrive, never satisfied with who we are or what we have. We’re stuck in our heads, forgetting to embrace the present moment. But in the end, all we have is now.
Pleasant anticipation and making plans is great, but we often consider the present moment to be less relevant, less meaningful, less precious than the next one, which is just a crazy way of living.
We live as if the current moment is an obstacle to overcome.
Dwelling on memories, no matter good or bad is another aspect that distracts us from embracing the present moment. You can’t change past mistakes, but you can benefit from your learnings. Make the most of the knowledge and tools you have right now. Realize that every single action can only be taken now. Any planning is done now. Any lesson you learned from the past can only be applied now. There is never a time when you are living in any other than this current moment. So enjoy the ride before there’s nothing left to conquer.
I don’t think it’s possible to be fully present 24/7 yet we can learn to become more mindful. What has helped me tremendously, is to simply acknowledge when my mind starts wandering, when I know it shouldn’t. The simple act of realizing that I don’t live in the present moment immediately brings me back to where I am. There’s no need for self-criticism or judgment. Just become aware of your thoughts and be intentionally focused on the present, even if it lasts for only a few seconds.
As someone who is into photography, all of this is particularly difficult at times, especially while traveling. However, before or after I’m done taking pictures, I consciously take a moment to simply enjoy the view without looking through a camera lens.
In the end, memories will always be more valuable than an Instagram post.
If you’re interested in this topic, or simply wish to become less stressed and more grounded, I can highly recommend the book The power of now by Eckhart Tolle. I have to admit that it is one of the most difficult to understand books on spirituality that I’ve ever read so far. I had to read it twice to get the essence of it. But believe me, it’s worth it!
So try to walk through life more mindfully. Whatever you’re up to, be all-in instead of doing it half-heartedly. Pay more attention to other people than to your phone and savor the moment before it’s too late.
The past is gone. The future hasn’t yet arrived. And the present moment is alive.