I’m a planner by nature.
Planning for and anticipating an event is part of the fun for me. Figuring out what outfit I’ll wear, what nail polish to pick (and always, stupidly, apply ten minutes before leaving), and what food to make are fun. Writing to-do lists and having a schedule of tasks leading up to an event help me channel my anxious energy. Always having something to do next lets me go on autopilot and never stop moving. Having an empty weekend, except the part where I get to sleep forever, makes me uncomfortable.
The problem I have is the lack of being present. I’m always thinking, what’s next? Right now I’m thinking of the ten things I have to do before bedtime, what I have to bring to my parents’ house tomorrow after work, and stressing about all of the unplanned details for my birthday party on Saturday. I’m not ‘here’ right now, mentally, and so I’m never relaxed until I fall asleep at night.
I do this at work, too. Our company went through a lot of changes this summer and there is always something to do, so I just go go go until the clock strikes 5:30. Usually I break for lunch, sometimes I don’t. Today I had to force myself to stop and make a cup of coffee at 2pm.
Being still is not my strength. Being still means the opportunity to actually think and process and feel things. Being busy numbs me from that, from the anxiety and the uncontrollable overthinking that pulls apart every insecurity and gives me fifty ways I’m a screwed up human. But that also seeps into the good things that I try to enjoy fully, but can’t. I won’t let myself sit and watch a movie with Erik, and sometimes it’s difficult to shut my brain off when I’m trying to enjoy the company of my friends. If you’re doing something to drown out the bad – something that is taking your focus away from reality – then it’s going to affect the good, too.
Born from all of that is my word for 2017, a word that I always brushed off and never paid attention to: intentional. Yeah, okay, I need to be more intentional. I need to “be here now,” blah blah blah. I always overlooked this word that’s everywhere. Until this year, when I was working on Holiday Council work, and it kept coming out of my pen in almost every prompt.
This year I will do my best to be intentional. To be present. To be here, now. Not in my head, not thinking about tomorrow or Saturday or next month’s calendar full of events. Not constantly hopping from one thing to the next thing to the next. Just where I am, right now, no matter where that happens to be.
Are you good at being present? Do you constantly think about the next things coming up on your agenda, or do you savor the moment? Any tips on staying in the moment?