by Jonathan Hilton
It is so easy to get lost in thought, lost in thoughts about your past and what you should have done. Your mind can transport you effortlessly to those moments where you perceive that you were really happy, unlike your experience today.
The problem with these trips to the past is that if you make them too often you will find it difficult to enjoy the moments you are in right now. The other thief of the moment is the future. Everybody plans for the future, it would be crazy not to, but you cannot put off your happiness to tomorrow or you will never be happy with what you are doing, the people in your life or events you experience. Now is the time that you have, today, this moment is all that you will be guaranteed in life and it is your obligation to yourself to enjoy it.
Live For Today
As you experience the time that you have there are opportunities to feel alive in the here and now. It can be time spent with a loved one where you share tender moments, or it could be a joke you share with a friend. The simple pleasure of seeing the beauty that exists all around you can make you laugh, or make your day. Since these moments are fleeting, a person has to be ready and aware to catch them and make them count.
One of the things that I did which helped me appreciate my experience was to consciously make a note of everything I noticed that was beautiful in that day. From the sunrise I witnessed, moving from a light orange film barely visible on the horizon to its culminating glory of creating an entire burning sky. To the houses that were silhouetted by the sunrise, with their chimneys gently puffing their stream of wispy smoke into the crisp fall/winter sky. The list was long, but it allowed me to appreciate what I was experiencing in life, today right now.
Too often we take the experience of today and brush it off as something we have to do, and don’t appreciate that the new day is a gift. Talk to anyone who is struggling against a fatal disease, and is not sure how many more sunrises they might see. How much do they appreciate the new day and all of the little things that most of us never even notice? The sound of a car starting, the laugh of a stranger in the distance, the look in the eye of someone who loves you.
Focus on The Positive
This is an endeavor that you can begin right now at this moment. Many will say I will do this tomorrow or put it off until the new year, but that is a losing proposition and you know it. Before long you are going to convince yourself that you will be happy when x, y or z finally occurs. What do you do in the meantime? Your mind has a way of distracting you from being happy, by pointing out your flaws, your worries or your doubts, in the non-stop dialogue in your head.
Ignore that foolishness, because it all amounts to nothing in the end. When you are dying will you wish you had only worked a little bit more, spent less time with your loved ones, or had less fun? Of course not, look for the things that really matter and pay attention to those, forget the rest. A wise man once said listen to your heart, and ignore the noise in your head. I believe you will have a lot fewer regrets at the end if you do.
Now, It’s All You Have
Finally, this moment needs to be treasured and appreciated because it is all that you have. Looking at the past is a fun escape, but no matter how long you think, yesterday is gone and it isn’t coming back, ever. Tomorrow may be great but there is no guarantee, your life could be over in ten seconds. All of these thoughts are just fantasies we entertain ourselves with daily. There is only one real thing and that is you, and where you are right now. The choice to be happy in it, experiencing whatever is happening is up to you.
So you can spend your time worrying about the future, or being angry about the past and the supposed slights that others have perpetrated against you, but those choices will only make today less enjoyable.
Enjoy the hell out of each moment you have, because they are all you can ever be sure of.