Living for the moment

I’ve been listening to Dodie Clark’s cover of My Anthem a bit today. It’s a horribly pop-y song and not my thing at all. But the lyrics have stuck with me.

Oooo, I wanna live for the moments.
That are gone before we’re thinkin’ about them.
I’m singin’ this cause we’d be nothin’ without them.
And this is my anthem, yeah.

I’m leaving Iceland on Sunday and I’ve already noticed myself dreading going back. No particular reason because I love living in London and I’m excited about getting back to work and other activities.

I’ve had such a great time here. It’s been good to spend time with the family and to travel together and see new things.

All this dreading of leaving means I’m not spending my time and energy enjoying where I am and what I’m doing at the moment. Living in the future makes you forget to enjoy what you’re doing currently. Even the fact that in the last paragraph I used “had such a great time” instead of “am having” says something.

Living in the moment is so difficult. Our minds are occupied by anxiety and anticipation about the future, with occasional stretches occupied by worrying about the past. In all that we forget the present.

Are there any tips or hacks for living in the now? I’m not sure. Entire libraries have been devoted to this issue and everyone from philosophers to street addicts have tried to solve the problem with varying degrees of success.

For me the key is to realise that I’m not living in the present. When I notice these feelings of dread coming up I distance myself from them. I say to myself: “I notice that I have these feelings. I can’t help that but I can make a conscious effort to concentrate on what I’m doing now.”

So I allow myself these feelings of dread and don’t punish myself for them as others would. But I try my hardest to notice everything around me instead. I purposely find some time to play a game of pingpong, of having a little cuddle with my brother. I look out the window of our beautiful house. I appreciate all these little things.

I don’t have an answer for your existential dread about your vacation and returning to normal life. But maybe just try to focus on what’s going on around you right now. Really notice and enjoy the little things. They’ll make your memories last longer.

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