Being in the moment is something I intentionally work for. It shouldn’t be work, but it often is. I can tell when I’m not in the moment because time is never doing what I want it to. If time seems to slow to a crawl, I’m living in the past. I’m looking at what was and trying to remember it presently and boredom and apathy settle in and around me. When time is flying and I don’t have enough of it, I’m living in the future. I have too many things to do and too little time to accomplish my goals. It’s not enough time to read or write or tackle my latest project. I have some deadline that hovers and obscures this moment right now. I worry about some imagined deficit and have a hard time remembering that I usually have exactly what I need and it falls into my lap at precisely the moment I need it to.
I had a brief conversation this afternoon and the statement I heard was a simple reflection about the difficulty of living in the present. My response was about my daily goal to live in the moment and “BE.” I try to be and do epic shit daily. It’s a happy place to find yourself in.
Once I started heading home, I really had to think about what that means, because as I was driving home, I wasn’t in the moment. I wasn’t present in traffic. I wasn’t aware of the car I was in or the music on the radio. My thoughts were on the back patio at work with my favorite sweater holding me and the muted heat of the sun barely caressing bare flesh. I was observing soccer players in the nearby park and appreciating the beauty of the mountains and superficial conversation with company I always enjoy.
I started to wonder what being in the moment is really about. Is it actually a subjective concept? I mean, I was at home, with a dog begging for belly rubs and a cat hoping for a canned meal treat and my mind was reliving and exploring what happened an hour prior. Was that my moment though? I was physically with my dog and cat, and my kids were gaming loudly inside, but the moment I held onto was being lived again in my head. I was able to savor and hold the memory and I didn’t rush through it. I didn’t feel it slipping by too slowly. I was present in the moment of a memory and that memory was a moment of peace and joy.
In the last few days I’ve been flirting here and there. It’s been silly banter or lingering looks and I can appreciate it for a moment, but any longer and I look away. I’m really not interested. I’m playing with online dating but I’m not taking it too seriously. It’s really become an audition to see if there might be someone beautiful enough to give up my alone time but I know the answer before I even swipe. I even let my cat swipe for a while in an effort to be that lonely cat lady. True story. I recognize it as a moment with a stranger that highlights other moments I’ve had in recent months, and those moments are too tempting to fall into with tender affection and slow observation. In those moments, I’m in the past, but that past still brings a bright joy to the present and those moments are my present moments because of the joy assigned to them.
It’s not a moment in the past where I am lost to a dream that I’m trying to change. I didn’t carry expectations that became resentments. It’s not a future I want to create. It’s a moment in the past that still shades my present in rosy tones and floral scents. It’s stepping back into a moment that makes the present moment beautiful and hopeful. The moment can be subjective. Right now could be right this day, or right this month, and I imagine it can be the beauty of a good year. It’s a moment. It’s now. Now can last as long as we allow it to.
And I’m still wondering how long right now is supposed to last.