So much of our time is spent waiting—it makes me think of Dr. Seuss’ book, Oh the Places You’ll Go, and the “waiting place”. We call it life. As individuals, we wait to get our first kiss, our driver’s license, to graduate, to get into university or get our first ‘real’ job.
Moving into adulthood, we’re waiting for ‘the one’, to get married, buy a house, have babies--- if that’s the path you choose. Or maybe we’re waiting to travel, to make partner in a firm, or get a PhD.
What I’ve realized, on the cusp of forty, is how much time I’ve wasted waiting. I’ve spent most of my time between the ages of twenty and now, focused on the next thing. The next step, the next day, the next year, the next achievement.
I wish I could stand still, or rather, that time could. Since it can’t, I need a new strategy. Time appears to be slipping through my hands. I love watching my children grow into the versions of themselves they are trying to be. I love my job, my husband, and writing. We have truly great friends and a strong family network. This moment, right now, is exactly what I was waiting for.
Now that it’s here, I can’t stop worrying about it falling away. On the plus side, we’re more settled and secure. But, we’re hitting the time where age is suddenly showing itself in our parents and it’s scary. This realization that the moments are passing. Even though I was waiting for this time, this sense of happiness, fulfillment, and accomplishment, now that it’s here, it seems too soon.
I’m not ready for the next stage. I’m not ready for goodbyes or planning for retirement. I feel like a cartoon character using their oversized heels to dig into the ground and slow the passage. But nothing can slow it or stop it. Which is why it’s so important to seize it. Right now. No more waiting or stalling.
With the start of the new school year, I’m going to do my best to live now. Not yesterday or tomorrow, but right this minute. Why is such a simple thing so hard to do? Both of my daughters inherited some of my anxiety. It’s natural to have conversations regarding ‘what if’ in our house.
But ‘what if’ I work harder to make right now count? I need to accept that the only thing I can control is today and what I do with it. Easy in theory; hard in reality. I’ll get lost in the hectic pace of the school year soon enough and I could spend today, tomorrow, the next day, thinking about how I’m not ready yet, but it’ll come just the same. So, what I’m going to do, right now, is finish watching White Collar with my husband, go to bed early, and enjoy every moment of our final day before school is back in.
How do you stay in the moment and not let your worries over the past or future overcrowd your brain?