Being Present Is a Gift

I am a multi-tasker by nature… I often watch TV while doing a puzzle, reading a book, crocheting, or playing on the computer. I cook while sweeping or washing dishes, talking on the phone, or folding laundry.  Right now I am working on this, playing a game, texting a friend, and planning my afternoon. While I ate breakfast I did my budget for the next 2 months and read my Bible chapters, it’s just silly. I do not think this is a good thing, and I am not bragging, I have spent the last several months trying to stop doing this.

My kids grew up with me doing homework with them, since I went back to school when they were 10 and 7, I had 3 jobs and they were in several activities, I also had a house to clean, a family to cook for, I was captain of my pool team, and was married to a man in a small town that I needed to keep happy, we had many dinners with the neighbors, we went out together once a week, I get tired just thinking about it now.

After I got sick I realized how many small things I was missing out on by my constant multi-tasking. My body forced me into slowing down, I get brain fog and am unable to complete so many tasks at once, I get confused and make mistakes, I don’t like to make mistakes.
 

 
When we moved into this house I put my computer in a room besides the living room. I did that so that when I am visiting or watching a movie or even have my nieces and nephews here that I am hanging out with them, present in the moment, not distracted by games or thoughts of what else I could be doing. When I am with my granddaughter I put my phone away and sit down on the floor and really concentrate on just her. It saddens me to think of all the moments I missed in years of  burning the candle at both ends and lighting a flame in the middle, I can’t fix that, I can only concentrate on the now and strive for better in the future.

My son was raised a Minnesota boy and has lived there off and on since I came back here four years ago, now he and his family have settled just south in Iowa, I have dozens of friends there and I have, in the past, packed each trip so full of visits I ran out of time before I did half the things I wanted to do, including having long visits with my son, which was my main reason for being there. When I realized how that made him feel I stopped, just stopped. If I am there to visit him that’s what I do, my last visit was the best we have had in too long of a time. We walked around town together, went to the pool as a family, hung out in the yard, played games, cooked and ate meals together, it was lovely.

I moved back to this area just short of 4 years ago and was working so much that on my days off I tried to catch up on laundry and housework, and I was not doing any of the things that made me want to move home in the first place, so I started going for drives and taking pictures and just sitting in nature and enjoying the present moment.
 

 
It took me a long time to realize this, but the present moment really is all there is. Yes, plan for the future, but don’t count on it. Don’t say I will catch up with my sister next week, or I will hang with my kids on the weekend, or in a couple days I will have a long talk with my partner, the future is not promised, there are no guarantees. Sit down now, call your favorite aunt and say hi. Listen to everything your kids want to tell you, even when it’s a long rambling story. Really listen and pay attention to not only what your partner is saying, but think about how they feel. By really listening, by being in the present moment, you are giving that person the best gift in the world, the gift of your time and attention. The really cool thing, is that you reap the rewards with them. Being present in each moment is also a gift to yourself, you will appreciate every moment so much more.

Just so you know, after I wrote that sentence about everything I was doing I turned my ringer off, signed out of Facebook, and am just paying attention to my thoughts, and how what I have learned the hard way may benefit someone else. Go live your life. Enjoy each moment of it. Tomorrow you may be a day older and nothing will have changed, or, you may have had 24 hours in which to enjoy a lifetime of moments, a riot of fall color, the hug of a child, the comfort of a pet, the love that surrounds you. I choose to live today, and enjoy this moment.
 

About the author:
MamaSteph has 2 kids by birth and several by love, she is a nurse and enjoys finding healthier ways to make comfort foods, gardening, enjoying nature, and living life to the fullest…For a list of her blogs please click here.