On Living in the Present

I was called out the other day. 

People don’t really like to be called out. I am one of those people. I don’t like to be told that I am doing something wrong or that something in my personality or my life is wrong, but it happens. People who care about me call me out sometimes.

The other day, my boyfriend called me out on something, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’ve always heard and seen those cliché phrases about living in the present. The whole “Leave nothing for tomorrow what can be done today” and the “Tomorrow never comes” stuff. I always heard it, but I always brushed it off. But then the other day, I was stressing about something that was going to happen a week away and finally he just told me to stop. “Sydney, there is no reason to be stressing about something in the future like that,” he told me. I may have been agitated at first. Yeah, telling me that didn’t immediately relieve my stress about it, but it got me to thinking… you know, why do I always stress about stuff like that – stuff I can’t control?

I don’t know if I can really answer that question, but I can say that since he said this, I have been thinking a lot about it. I have been taking note of what I am doing in the moment and to stop myself from worrying about what’s happening tomorrow or a week from now or years from now. I was walking from East Hall (the Psychology Department building) the other day after finally having declared my major in Psychology. I was walking through the Diag (our central part of campus) and while there were thoughts of where this major would lead me, what graduate schools I could attend, what jobs I could get, etc., I told myself to stop. It was an absolutely beautiful day. It was 70 degrees and there was a beautiful spring breeze blowing through the trees on the lawn. There were people playing Frisbee and climbing trees. In the center of the Diag, there was a group of eager future Wolverines taking a picture by the gold M emblem. I was so busy planning out three, five, ten years into my future that I wasn’t focusing on the awesome things going on around me. So I stopped. Fully stopped. I took a second to lie down on the grass, holding my brand new Michigan Psychology t-shirt in my hand and breathed. I breathed in the spring breeze. I smelled the freshly mown grass and the scent of the trees and plants around me. And it felt good. It felt good to just relax. I’d forgotten how it felt to just take everything in in the present. 

So being called out isn’t always a bad thing. It makes me think. Sometimes, even though at first it may seem annoying or disruptive, being called out can be so helpful. So my goal this summer is to take the time to live in the present. In a little over a month, I will be embarking on a month-long trip traveling around Europe with two of my best friends. My goal is to not worry about the itinerary (and I am quite the itinerary type of person) and to live in the moment that we are in. If we are in Paris, then I want my mind to be in Paris, not two days later in Amsterdam. 

What are your goals for this summer? Do you have trouble living in the present? What are some things you do to remind yourself to live in the present and not worry about the future?

 present

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