by Deb Baker/Hannah Reed
This is my first time living alone. Ever. From the shelter of my family home, to roommates, then marriage and children. In these early beginnings of a new life, I sometimes find myself unable to focus on anything for very long.
Yesterday, after several weeks of reading self-help books, I decided to change my state of mind by concentrating on living in The Now. Forget the past, I tell myself. All that’s important is…The Now.
So I’m driving down the highway and my mind is totally scattered. Checking into the past - a rinse and repeat process, then whizzing to the future to find something to worry about. It’s going a mile a minute (pretty much like the car is) and I remember my decision and whistle for it. Okay, I can’t actually whistle, but you know what I mean.
And then I focus really hard on The Now. I look around and see weeds blooming in a field. Pretty. On the other side of the highway –an industrial park. Not so pretty. Ahead of me is more concrete and kazillions of vehicles. I try to admire the different kinds of cars, but am failing at this new experiment fast.
Living in The Now, I'm discovering, can be pretty sucky.
Then, when I’m about to give up and declare all those hours of reading a big waste of time, I have an epiphany! Insight slithers through the open door of my brain exactly like I heard it would once I shed everything but The Now. And I’m pumped because I love to learn new things and this is a biggie. My protag, Gertie Johnson, studies a new word every day. I used to do the same thing. This is much like remember to use one of those words at the proper time, only much, much better. I actually feel my mind expand as truth zaps me right through the shatter-proof front window.
I’m going to share with you what I learned. It is going to seem simple. And it is. Ready?
The past is dead and buried. Forget it. Nothing will come from regrets. You can’t go back in time and fix anything that’s already taken place and you’ve learned all you are going to learn from it. Move on.
However, if The Now is really ugly, if it’s endless miles of concrete or super highway family and friend drama, why stick around and punish yourself when you can be elsewhere?
That’s when your own fine mind comes in. That is, unless you have a book on hand to escape into. But if you’re blasting along in traffic like me, or trapped in equally hideous surroundings, pick a happy place in your imagination where you’d rather be.
Then go there, where it’s beautiful all the time, where everything exists in harmony and is exactly how you imagined it would be. Because you are imagining it. And don’t feel guilty when you take off for parts unknown. No one has to know but you.
Sometimes, daydreaming is a really great place to be.
The secret is to know when to stay and know when to go.