A Lesson on Living in the Moment
Whew! What a whirlwind week this has been, for both my personal life and my professional. I need to first thank you all for being awesome people, reading everyday and just being here for me. My virtual community has really become such a strong part of who I am and I just want to thank you all for being you 🙂
Now guys, I honestly can’t believe it’s almost November. October has been a wonderful month, jam packed full of winery tours, haunted houses, Halloween decorating, pumpkin picking and endless scary movies. October is my favorite month of the year, not only for the scary stuff, but because of how beautiful it is. [All photos below taken at Unicorn Winery in the Shenandoah Valley].
I love that crisp air, the eerie glow of creepily carved pumpkins, the crunch of the fallen leaves under your boots as you walk to get your mail. But especially, I love the colors.
I love the bright reds, oranges and yellows of the trees. Each leaf changing a slightly different color than the next. Fall, to me, is nature as it’s most beautiful. This time of year symbolizes not only a new season, but also forgiveness and starting over. The trees shed their leaves and return back to their most primal state, only to blossom with entirely new, gorgeous leaves in the spring. A signal of starting fresh, to me, it’s a season of new beginnings. This October has also been such a miraculous one. I’ve noticed that I’ve allowed myself to slow down and take everything in. I’m allowing myself to live in each day. I think it’s because I now love my job so every day is new, interesting and fun. I don’t want to miss a single moment. Plus, as the leaves start to fall, one by one, I find myself not wanting to miss watching a single one hit the ground.
Now, living in the moment is something I struggle with. It’s not a state of mind that comes naturally. I’m always looking for what’s next, what big event I can plan for, my future plans, the future “me.” This whole look to the future mentality really set in when I got my first job out of college. I know it’s not like this for everyone, but when you hate your job like I did, the only thing keeping you going is Friday. The miraculous weekend. Everyday for those hard 2 years, all I had to my sanity was the fact Friday was just a few days away. I hated where I spent my 9 – 5, so of course the dream of the weekend and the dream of my future, in grad school or a stellar new job, become a big a part of me as my name. Almost every word out of my mouth was future oriented. Even last October, with all of my fun fall festivites and cozy weekend nights at home with my fiance (now hubby), I was so filled with dread for Monday, I couldn’t let myself enjoy it. I missed everything, every beautifully colored leaf was bypassed by my clouded eyes. My life was passing me by and I didn’t even realize it.
It took my wedding day and finding a new job to realize how much I let pass me by because I was too transfixed on the future, on moving forward. However, I didn’t just click a light switch and change how I perceived my life. It’s taken a lot of internal struggling to just be. One thing (besides my colleagues encouraging words) that really helps me, though, just live in the moment is photography.
In photography, you can’t fast forward. And you don’t want to. Every second of everyday holds something beautiful, why wish that away and miss one of the most incredible shots of your life? You have to shut off your mind and let each second take you as it wants to, let each day happen as it should and allow every beautiful moment unfold without pushing or wishing it away. When I was at the winery last weekend, snapping away these pictures, I wasn’t concentrated on the fact Monday was just hours away or what we were doing next weekend. I was concentrating on those bright red leaves, those gorgeous little figments of nature, and how I could capture them. I was admiring and breathing in every little thing as if it was the most important in the world. Because when you are taking pictures, everything is. At that moment, all that matters is whats in front of you and how you can take a little piece of that beauty, of that moment, home. If that’s not living in the moment, I don’t know what is.
Another thing that helps me stay present? My dog. I know, sounds crazy right? But dogs don’t have the ability to look forward to the future. They don’t have the ability to “wish for 5pm” or count down until Christmas. Every second of every day for them is important. (Especially that second you walk in the door after being gone all day!) They take in every scent, every movement and every sight as if it’s the most important thing that will ever happen to them. Watching Oscar at the winery, especially, was proof of this. Every moment we were there he was looking around, smelling and taking it all in. Dogs know how to live in the moment and seriously, there is so much we can learn from them.
This whole “seizing the day thing” is something I will always have to work on. However, now I truly realize how important it is. I don’t want to wish away another day, regardless of how bad it is. You truly aren’t guarenteed any more days than the one you are in, so make it count. For something at least 🙂
So now, I ask you all, are you a past, present or future kind of person? Are you happy that way?
On the other hand, when Ross and I take a trip somewhere, I become completely present. It's probably why I like traveling so much - I drop everything just to experience those few days.
I love what you're saying about animals, too. I feel the same way, and I think they're a great reminder of how to stay grounded.
In the last few months I've been thinking more and more about how short life is, and that we all can learn from spending more time in the present moment. I'm hoping to get more into yoga this winter for that reason.
I think I'm some weird combo of present/future. For the "present" person part of it, it's not in the "live in this moment" type of way - I tend to get tunnel vision on whatever it is I'm working on at the moment and that I HAVE to get done . . . to get to where I want to be in the future. Does that make sense? Both hubby and I work full-time and go to school in the evenings (he for a PhD in biology, me in law school), so it's really easy to forget to take a moment and breathe and enjoy these beautiful fall days. I'm hoping that you're right and that taking some time with the pups will help realign perspective! :)