When I saw the Daily Prompt for today my first thought was about how important we are told it is to live in the present. This is a phrase that has been, might I say, presented to me so many times in my lifetime.
Last year I was sent to therapy for my anxiety and depression. Almost immediately my therapist clocked on that I spend most of my time living in either the past or the future. Never the present. Which was more true than she even knew because to be honest whenever I was in my therapy session I’d somehow end up thinking about the future (usually what’s for tea, in my defence).
She tried to help me learn to live in the present through means of mindfulness and the like. It never worked. I remember being asked to just feel the chair and the conversation went something like this:
“It feels…metal…and cold…but I don’t know if the chair is cold or my hands are cold.”
“See, you’re already going too far it doesn’t matter about whether it’s you or the chair. Just live.”
That is basically how I interpret any experience in my life and it isn’t great to be honest. But I’m learning.
My year abroad has helped me massively I think because being in a foreign place forces you to live in the present. You can’t think about what you’ll do once you arrive at your destination because you have to work out how to get there first. Little pushbacks that happen abroad keep you in the present. Also, actually enjoying yourself means you do take notice of the present rather than the past or future. I think enjoying myself is something I need to do more.
My year abroad has made me a better person as I have learned to live in the present. I worry less about things like “oh but what if I miss my train” because, oh well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. And by now I’ve also learned I literally never miss my train.
On an almost different note, I’ve just looked around me (see, living in the present) and two presents I received recently caught my eye. My friend’s mum knitted me a teddy of my cat for my year abroad so I get to take a mini me of him with me, and my boyfriend bought me a Plusheen because I like to spontaneously send the sticker of it on Facebook Messenger.
I’m learning to have a strong presence, living in the present, with my presents. Are you?