A lot of times we tend to live our lives in the past or the future and very rarely in the present. My question is, are we truly living if we spend our lives thinking, wondering and being anxious about the past and the future? How can one really live their life if they’re reliving memories or just simply planning ahead? That’s not living, that’s remaining stagnant. We can’t change the past and we won’t have an amazing future if we don’t get our shit together in the present.
I think that it is human nature to focus more on the past and the future. We try to relive the past because we miss it, because it is easier to lose ourselves in fond memories when something is difficult to deal with in our present lives or simply because we are wondering ‘what if’? What if I chose to take a gap year? What if I would have said yes to that opportunity? What if, what if, what if. As for obsessing about the future… I think that is normal too! We live in an age when everything is fast paced and our productivity levels are constantly through the roof – simply put, we never pause to think. Be it because we are working hard to create future for ourselves or because of social media which not only it can be addictive but it can also be a damaging safe-habit.
What is a safe-habit? A safe-habit is a habit we cling on to make ourselves feel safe and comfortable. Such as over-eating, sleeping in and staying in toxic relationships/friendships. Just like over-eating and sleeping in, obsessing over the past and the future can be a safe-habit. It is easier to live in the past because it has already happened and we know we got through whatever we went through and it is easier to obsess and plan for the future because at least we know that we have a plan and that we are prepared for it.
The truth is, we are never prepared for the future and we can never relive the past. The past is gone and the future is not here yet so we are left with the present. This is something I am working on in my personal life, thinking (more like over-thinking) about the past is something I am guilty of and worrying about the future is like a second nature to me but as I was trying to improve myself and to become a better, happier person I came up with a few things to make sure I actively live my future. Some of them are:
Switch up your routines
We are so stuck in our routines that everything we do becomes automated – making coffee in the morning is like a well rehearsed dance and scrolling through our social media is like watching a movie without engaging with it. Things like your morning routine, your study routine or even little stuff like where you get your groceries from can become an easy habit – a dance that we don’t have to think about, we just do it. Because we don’t have to think about the sequence of how we do things in the morning or the food we eat on a daily basis, that leaves a lot of room to think about the past/future and in turn it does not allow us to live in the present. By switching up your routines you keep things fresh, you keep yourself on your toes and through that excitement you begin to enjoy your present. So maybe instead of making the same five dishes all the time you could learn to make something else, something more challenging or even something completely out of your comfort zone. If we start to enjoy the present then it is easier to let go of the past and stop worrying about the future.
It is easy to slip back into old mindsets and habits if we don’t actively remind ourselves of our goals or the reason why we want to start living in the present. A few ways in which I actively remind myself to be present are post it notes, phone wallpapers or simply putting a stop to my thoughts when my mind wanders in that direction. By actively thinking and reminding ourselves that we must live in the present, not only do we find it easier to achieve that goal but it also spares us the disappointment when we realize that we haven’t been working hard to achieve a better state of mind.
Spend time doing something you love
Initially, this point was going to be called ‘spend time with family and friends’ but I thought, why not spend time doing something you love? It doesn’t have to be spending time with family and we all know that getting a group of friends together is harder now that we are getting older. Anything that keeps you grounded and focused should work and that includes friends, family, pets, hobbies such as writing, painting or a sport. By doing something you love you get into the habit of living in the present and enjoying every happy moment.
So here is the product of my highly caffeinated mind. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it might have helped you in one way or another. While you’re at it, check my last post which is a Get to Know Me Tag. Thank you for reading!