by Julie Furlong
As one of my colleagues recently prepared for her wedding day, and we all busily worked towards her last day in the office, I tried to scramble a few words together so we could send her off with friendship and love. I thought about all the things we usually say before important events: good luck, best wishes, sending you love and happiness, blah blah blah. They all felt so unoriginal, so I tried to think of some powerful advice I could pass onto her, something for her to remember.
But after some thought, my advice was simple: my words and thoughts to her evolved around treasuring moments and making them count, especially on the wedding day itself. On her special day, I suggested, stop and concentrate for a moment, take a deep breath and focus on the present – look around the room, soak it all in, commit it to memory, and give thanks for the life she has, full of love, health and positive energy.
Later that week, I also dined with a group of women around my age, our sons attend the same school together and are in the same year, though I didn’t know them prior to that night. After introducing ourselves, it wasn’t long before we found common ground, even though we each came from different professions. We laughed together about how quickly life goes by, how Gen Ys and millennials make fun of us (and we of them), how parts of our bodies have headed south, and how our brains still say ‘yes’ though our physical state says ‘no’. We remembered moments from the past and reflected fondly upon them. (read: Simple Things)
Over the next couple of weeks, these two experiences made me see clearly that our circumstances in life change often and quickly. Some of us marry, some of us have big careers or no careers; some of us have children, some of us don’t; we grow together and change constantly. We have such big lives and, as we continue to grow through the stages, we eventually slow down. This made me think deeper about our phases, experiences and moments in life, and how taking time to confirm where we are is important, because embracing and enjoying the beauty of time can add more value to our lives. (read: The Happy Plan)
Now don’t get me wrong, yes, we all have terrible days where we need time out. We sit in the car not wanting to confront that meeting or event (or person), hide in the bathroom because the kids won’t find you there, struggle to function because there’s just too much going in and out of our brains, or simply don’t want to leave the house, just because. What I’m saying is; as you go through the stages and circumstances of your life, try to identify and memorise moments from the good days to treasure on your less good days, because if we don’t stop and think where we are, we chance missing the point.
Here are some tips:
1. Instead of re-thinking your past or worrying about the future, practice noticing things around you in the present. (read: Let Go)
2. Take notice of your surroundings – sights, sounds, smells, texture and ambiance.
3. Learn to enjoy the beauty of moments, be more conscience and aware of all the good things in your life right now.
4. Let yourself and your worries go more often, because we all make mistakes, but we also do good things. Accept that and find a way to disconnect from time to time, and clear your mind so it’s freer to appreciate what you do have. (read: What's your worry?)
5. Be more mindful of each moment passing, because doing so allows you to prolong the value of that moment and make it more meaningful.
6. Enjoy the times that unfold with no questions about what might happen, what could have happened or what will happen.
7. Tell yourself: this is it – I’m in my 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, etc… this is where I am, and I am going to love, accept, embrace and remember it the best way I can. Of course, we still need to plan and set goals for the future, and it’s natural to want to analyse the past to some degree, but we also need to be grateful for what we’ve got right now – and it’s easy to forget that.
So, this month, I challenge you: take five minutes, look at your life with some gratitude, and enjoy that moment.