I found myself keenly aware of my breathing this morning. Aware of the slow breaths I took while looking and listening to raindrops as they hit the car window and aware of the deep breaths I took while thinking of the day and the tasks that lay ahead.

Then I realized that there have been quite a number of moments of deep breathing in my life. Deep breathing in times of uncertainty, excitement, anxiety and fear of the unknown. I think this stems from my tendency to always be wary of what comes next. At 25, I was worrying of where and what I’d be when I turn 30. At 30, I was anxious about a major life decision I just made and whether I was where I should be and of course, what happens when I turn 35? At 35, I found myself worried about an uncertain future against a backdrop of uncertainty surrounding a Presidential election and again, I was worried about what will happen when I reach 40. Will I be as successful as I thought I’d be? Will I turn out to be a good husband and father? All these moments of deep breathing have been accompanied with attempts of lining my ducks in a row. I planned my worries away. It was my way of coping, it was my way of dealing with uncertainty and it was my way of creating a semblance of control over what life may bring.

But then… someone I know breathes his last at 38.

Wait. I never planned for what will happen when I turn 38. I just turned 37 two months ago for Pete’s sake. The next review and planning session for my life is 3 years away. What do I do? What if I also die at 38, or 39? What then? Deep breathing ensues.

Then it dawned on me: Do I really have to always plan and think of what will happen in the future? What about the now? What about the present? What about the hugs and kisses I get from my wife and daughter now? Why worry about my daughter’s college fund when I can enjoy how she is blossoming in nursery class? Why worry about how to make my wife still happy to be with me five years from now when I can show her how every part of me loves her today? And why should I wait to hear a mother’s cry in front of a son’s casket to appreciate family? Why?

I am still trying to figure out how to answer all these but I have a feeling it will have something to do with living, enjoying and relishing the present moment with the same excitement that comes with dreaming of a better life five years or a decade from now. What I know is that starting NOW, I am committing myself to seeing the wonders that NOW brings. Slowly breathing while seeing my family’s smiles and being happy for the success of friends and colleagues and yes, also slowly breathing with them during life’s painful moments. Just being PRESENT with them.

Slow breathing starts NOW.

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