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How I Live Life by the Moment

Monday, May 14, 2012

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

I'm kind of a silly guy in that I live my life by moments. I do my best to live my life in the moment, trying to notice everything that is happening around me. It is how I live my life these days. I no longer concern myself with things I have done in the past. Many of those things I can't do anymore and dwelling on that accomplishes nothing except developing resentment for what I have lost.

I try not to obsess about the future. I set goals and work towards them, doing my best to set myself up for success, but I don't worry about all the people and things I have no control over.

Living life in the moment is not always an easy thing to do. In fact, the more you think about doing it, the harder it is. Many people believe it requires you to let go of your past accomplishments as well as your future dreams. This is true in a way. You need to let go of the thinking that your ability to accomplish something in any way makes you more important than anyone else, but hold on to the passion and drive that helped you reach that goal.

You also need to let go of your mistakes, but hold on to the lessons you learned while making them. You need to plan for the future, set yourself goals and put a plan of action in place to attain those goals. When you are executing that plan, you live in the moment as you take action. So if you’re walking after work to lose weight then while you’re walking, that's what you concentrate on. You concentrate on the pace you’re going and your breathing. You live in that moment and that moment is about walking.

What you do need to let go of is wasting energy on things you can't control. If you’re meeting a friend to walk with and he cancels, you need to let go of it and get on with your walk. You can't control what someone else is or isn't going to do and wasting energy on trying or being upset about it only hurts you and wastes your moment.

The simple fact that we are human makes living in the moment difficult. We have emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, anxiousness and fear that can steal the joy of the moment from us. For those of us with lifelong health issues, this is even more true. Often we are angry or sad at losing the ability to workout like we used to. We get frustrated with the speed of the medical community. We get anxious about test results and fear upcoming procedures or surgeries. I know that these are the things that I'm struggling with right now. I am striving to rise above these things, but often I find my mind wandering—thinking about my surgical consult coming up, frustrated that it’s still a week off and anxious to hear what they are going to recommend.

I will confess that I am not always the best at being in the moment. I have been trying to live my life this way for the last couple of years and I haven't always been successful. It was extremely hard at first, but with time, practice and constantly reminding myself to let it go and concentrate at the task at hand, I have gotten better.

I have found that in the past year, particularly, that it has really helped me stay centered and that people have noticed. More than once I have had a friend comment on how relaxed I am in the face of upcoming open heart surgery, that they would be terrified and don't know if they could cope with it. My response is always the same. I eat healthy, I exercise and I have worked with my doctors to clarify all the potential problems. Beyond that the rest is out of my control and not worth wasting my time or energy worrying about. I've done my job and now I have to trust everyone else will do theirs.


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