It’s around 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night and I find myself at a table surrounded by friends. We’ve finished dinner and now we’re sitting around, sharing stories, laughs, and a couple of drinks. I care about everyone around me, but instead of enjoying the moment, I’m caught up in my head.
“Wow, I should really get out of here,” I think. “I have things I want to do tomorrow, and I don’t want to be tired. I want to work out in the morning, meet my mother for lunch, and I have that whole list of little errands to run.”
Sometimes, it’s too easy to get caught up in the moment. Other times, it’s easy to hold back and remove yourself from what’s going on around you because you’re stressing over external factors and that never-ending to-do list. When you sit back and think about it, though, isn’t life all about getting caught up in the moment? Aren’t those the moments that make up life?
Let me be frank with you. In recent years, I haven’t been as adventurous as I used to be. And even at my peak, I wouldn’t necessarily say I was Jacques Cousteau. But that being said, I was more willing to forget about tomorrow and seek enjoyment in the moment. Nothing else mattered. Sometimes it led to great times, others I’d rather forget, but they all contributed to the story of my life.
As you get older you change. You have more on your plate. You might be more health-conscious, more stressed about daily life, or more consumed with the future—and that’s fine. It’s life and that’s the name of the game. But try not to let your thoughts and concerns about tomorrow cloud your view of what’s happening right now around you. The activities you enjoy, the time and conversation with friends and family—or all the other things that may seem insignificant—ultimately create your life, help you to de-stress, and allow you to make new memories. When you become obsessed with tomorrow, it’s quite easy to lose touch with the present, where life is happening.
Now, I’m not suggesting you give up on your goals or lose sight of where you’re going. I’m simply saying that life is about balancing today with tomorrow. I’m also saying that people tend to get so busy and bogged down with focusing on what they want that they forget what they already have. All the little interactions you have every day and the good times you have with loved ones aren’t always things to gush over, but try to appreciate the little moments.
So next time you’re spending time with friends or playing with the grandchildren and find yourself thinking about something else, stop, refocus, and be aware of where you are, how important it is, and that for the moment, nothing else matters. You might even consider carrying a pen and paper with you or creating a memo on your phone of things to do tomorrow; once you’ve written it down, pretend like you have a windshield wiper in your mind and wipe that thought away for the time being. You’ll get to it later.