Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Living in the Moment isn't Always What It's Cracked Up to Be!

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.


kiki said...

Great thoughts Deb. My brother is always saying the past is past and stay in the here and now. Sometimes hard to do but I really think you said it well. I'm going to my happy place now as I drift off to sleep

D. L. Marriott said...

Even in ugliness there is a spot of beauty if you look for it, and beautiful people (like you) always have beauty in their heads - so go there anytime you need a pick me up. Well maybe it's not such a good idea when you're driving!

I have two quotes for you:

“A daydreamer is a writer just waiting for pen and paper.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

And from one of my favorite classic authors:

"Regrets are the natural property of grey hairs."
- Charles Dickens

Deb said...

Love the quotes!

Liz Straw said...

Remember the good things, let go of the bad.

The worst thing about living alone, there is no one else to do the dishes, cook when you don't feel like it, or take out the trash and recycling. (or to change those pesky hard to reach light bulbs) :)

Karen in Ohio said...

Ah, but the good thing about living alone is that there is no way to MAKE dirty dishes or create more trash or messes.

Lean into it, Deb. That's the only way. There were good and bad days before, and there will be good and bad days going forward. The trick is to find something good in every situation, no matter what. I know you can do that.

As to friend and family drama: don't let it get to you. You aren't responsible for others' decisions. All you can change and control is you. And maybe get an iPod for the car, loaded with happy music. Just sayin'. :-)

Karen in Ohio said...

Blast it. I meant there is no ONE to make dirty dishes.

You know what I mean.

Deb said...

You are all so wise!

Elaine said...

I agree with Karen in Ohio. You only have to clean up the messes you make and cook the foods you want to eat. There are advantages to being alone. And then there are always those magical places in books to go to. Thank you for creating some of those!

Barbara said...

Until I married at 35, I lived alone much of the time beginning when I went away to prep school at 16. I loved it and was never lonely; I like my own company. I could read in bed, eat what and when I wanted, watch the TV or read when I wanted, plan outings on my own schedule - so many pluses to not having others around. The only bad thing? I frequently talked to myself, but who cares - I had very intelligent conversations if I do say so myself. lol

Maggie Sefton said...

I loved your insights, Deb. And they are right on. Like you. You are right on course for creating this next phase of your life. I'm still creating mine, and I went on my own almost 15 years ago. Wow! It's been a heluva ride so far, and I expect it to continue. :) Ups and downs, but those come with the road. Hills and valleys. Same for everybody. Let Gertie be your guide. She's got a great attitude. :)

Deb said...

Awww, Elaine, that perked me up!

Deb said...

Gertie is going to get me in so much trouble! Haha.

I need another Maggie fix soon:)

Aurian said...

As long as you keep watching the road while driving! There are so many idiots on the road everyday.
But yes, accept what has happened, and look forward to tomorrow but enjoy today as much as possible. It are the small things that can make you smile, like those wildflowers.

Bev said...

I read a great quote recently that really hit home for me. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." -- Dr. Suess

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Bev. Dr. Seuss was a very smart guy. :-)

Rachelle21 said...

With my husband in the hospital, it
s the cats and me and I hate being alone. I don't cook and my stomach has been tied in knots. Today a good friend drove me to the hospital and made sure I ate - he even paid. One of my friends said, "You are never really alone when you believe in a higher power."