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Living in the Moment

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"Live in the moment." We've all heard it before, but not many people actually take these words to heart.

Truly living in the moment means: 1) not putting off what you really want to do; 2) not fretting over the past or dreading the future; and 3) savouring the very fact that, right now, you are alive! Now, I'm not saying that people who live in the moment are unprepared for what comes next in life. You can still live in the moment and be a good organizer. You can still address the world's problems and try to fix them. And yes, you can still apologize when you make a mistake, as we all must do at some time or another. But while you do whatever matters to you, do it whole-heartedly and without a doubt. Living in the moment is important because you'll overall be happier than those people who slap themselves in the face when they slip up.

People who live in the moment also have more motivation to get outside, have an adventure, and do kind things for others. Who doesn't like to see the smile on another person's face when you compliment them?

Here's an example. Let's say you've been wanting to go on a bike ride to the park and have a picnic for a long time now. Yet every time you ask yourself, "Do I want to go now?" that familiar sensation of self-doubt comes creeping in and you put it off. Maybe you want to “save your energy” or “it’s too late in the day”. Most reasons, however, for not doing the things you want are unjustified. If you decided to go out after all, you could have a wonderful time! In fact, you’ll probably gain the motivation to do it again and again!

So why not live in the moment? It seems like one of the keys to life happiness. You can really have fun! But it isn’t so simple; we’ve got to go to school. And even once we’re finished school, we’ll be expected to go to work! This gets in the way of living in the moment because you can’t do what you truly believe in and enjoy, plus the fact that your teachers won’t exactly understand your motivations for staring out the window and “savouring the moment”. In short, social norms and rules try to bring you down. My advice: don’t let them. You can still savour the moment— still enjoy your life— despite the fact that you go to school. Walk into that “dread building” with confidence and happiness. In other words, make yourself enjoy your school life—it makes up for 6 hours of your day!

It wasn’t always as difficult to live in the moment. I find that the more technologically advanced a society becomes, the less likely we are to live in the moment. Think about animals, for instance. They have responsibilities in their lives, but they still know how to live in the moment. For example, if there was an elephant who wanted to help her friend, she would have no reason to put it off. She would help her friend right away! Animals have no wristwatches and alarm clocks, nor do they have schedules and timetables. These human-made devices keep us in such timely order that it’s easy to forget about what matters in life—enjoying yourself, helping others, being connected to the world around you, and so much more.

When somebody has a difficult life, they may dismiss the idea of living in the moment. Instead, they take the easy route: they use escapes. My definition of an escape is anything that takes your thoughts away from reality. Examples include: video games, online communities, excessive reading, excessive sleeping, movies, random Google searches, etc. The problem with escapes is that they really just give you less motivation in life. Let’s say you were a reader—but you were reading all the time, during meals, before school, during school, after school, in the evening—you get it. You may start to find that your enjoyment of life becomes even less than it was before you found this escape. Thoughts like, “What is the point of my life?” and “I’m so useless!” will sink in. So instead of escaping from reality, find hobbies that keep you in this world. Play sports, get outdoors, and spend time with your friends! You can have an awesome life, but it’s up to you to make it that way!

Intellectuals may dismiss living in the moment as daft. But really, it isn’t. Living in the moment is about enjoying life, and isn’t that what life is all about? Life isn’t about studying, or passing the time with boredom busters. It’s about living! When you are old and about to die, you won’t be priding yourself over knowing calculus or Ohm’s Law, or how many Facebook friends you have had. But you will smile when you remember all those evening walks and hours of volunteer work that you did. You will laugh when you think of the time you went to the beach and spilled orange juice all over your new sweatshirt. And your eyes will twinkle when you remember the way your dog used to lick your face.

So don’t wait. Don’t put it off. The moment is now.

This is the moment!



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Prickly Pear said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm:
I really love this article.  It actually brought tears to my eyes.  It's very heartfelt and genuine. Thanks, Diamond Star!
 
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