10 Ways to Live in the Present
So here’s the thing. I’m a planner. I could plan our lives out all day long. I think it’s fun in fact. To research, to tweak, to come up with solutions to all of our problems by scheduling our lives to perfection (I wish!).
But, with all my strategizing, sometimes I forget I need to let planning rest and actually enjoy my life. Sometimes I get so caught up in the future, I ignore the present. So here are 10 things I’ve learned to help keep me in the here and now.
1. Listen to Music
Because it’s hard to plan when you’re singing along to the lyrics or dancing like a fool with your kids. I’m someone who cannot listen to music and think at the same time. So when I need to shut the planning down, I turn the music up.
2. Practice Gratitude
I may or may not occasionally freak out at the grocery store because I dislike spending money and wasting food and I worry I’m forgetting something and wonder if we’re eating healthy enough, etc. etc. But instead of thinking about the myriad of things I could be doing better when it comes to food, I’ve started practicing gratefulness for the items I put in my cart. Because I am grateful we get to eat sweet watermelon this week and I’m excited about the salad we’re having for dinner and looking forward to the chocolate ice cream afterward. When I look at each and every item in my cart through a lens of thankfulness, I can live in the present reality of abundance instead of, “Oh gosh, am I making all the right choices here?”
3. Just Do Something
When I’m overwhelmed by all the things, I try to pick one thing to do. This allows me to get something tangible done instead of worrying about how everything will get done. And once I’ve done one thing, it’s always easier to do something else.
4. Brain Dump
Sometimes I have so much going through my head I’m worried I’ll forget it all. This, naturally causes me to think about everything but the present. But by quickly dumping everything I’m thinking onto paper, I don’t have to worry about forgetting it later when it’s time to think about it again.
5. Trust the Plan
Since I am good at planning, I need to trust the plan I’ve already made and just carry it out. Homeschool planning can be particularly overwhelming because there are so. many. options. And opinions. And philosophies. And cool things to do. So earlier this year, I asked my husband to listen to my overall ideas and plans for the year. He did, we discussed it, I finalized our plans, and then I stopped researching new curriculum. Trusting and simply following the plan without constant revisions is nice.
6. Ditch the Plan
Because sometimes it’s too nice to stay inside for the day. Plans must be ditched for excellent weather when you live in Michigan.
7. Lean into Joy
Cherish the good moments without worrying about all that could go wrong Don’t let fear hijack joy. Lean into joy.
8. Copy the Kids
Because no one is more in the moment than little kids. So sometimes I just drop everything and immerse myself into whatever crazy world they’ve concocted. Recently this involved buying and running a giant amusement park and pretending to be Izzy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. My pixie dust came in quite handy.
9. Schedule it Out
Sometimes there are future events that need time and attention, but that time and attention isn’t needed or desired right now. It’s super obnoxious to be obsessing about a future event when I’m trying to play with my kids or have a meaningful conversation with my husband or pay bills. I really like to resolve things right away, but that’s not always possible or helpful.
So, I quickly brain dump what’s going through my head and then schedule a future time to think about it. I used this trick when we were on family vacation and I was thinking about a daunting task that needed to be completed when we got back. I told myself I could concern myself with that the day after we arrived home. This allowed me to enjoy my vacation more thoroughly because I knew there was a specific time to figure out how to tackle the impending task.
10. Sprinkle Reminders of Goodness
My extremely practical nature has kept me from appreciating the importance of beauty and physical reminders to keep me in the present. But I’m learning that something as simple as freshly picked flowers, a beautiful picture, or a favorite saying on the wall reminds me of God’s goodness and allows me to stay present in the moment.
How do you live in the present?