I have been in a fog for a good two weeks. Not exactly sure why although I suspect my month-long vacation is to blame. I know, I know. How much suffering does one have to bear? Don’t get me wrong. I am beyond grateful to have these long breaks away from my job, the hustle and bustle of New York, and the daily grind of single-motherhood (not that that grind ever really stops).
But it’s interesting to consider how we so readily create and embrace new normals for ourselves. Whether it be a new favorite restaurant that we begin to eat at regularly, a new home, car, job, or even a new love. What was once very familiar to us can quickly become a thing of the past.
That is what happened to me.
Whenever I go to visit my mother for these extended breaks, I immerse myself in the joys of southern living. I am able to take lovely walks amongst the most beautiful oak and magnolia trees, enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) while reading in the quiet of a screened-in patio, or be greeted with a smile and receive a helping hand with my packages as opposed to being scowled at and have change practically thrown at me by grocery store workers. I can actually move through my days with a sense of presence, peace, and dare I say–joy.
And that is exactly what now has me stuck.
Yearly, my home away from home quickly becomes my new normal. And, for a while, my actual normal feels foreign and uncomfortable. My two year-old son even experienced this. When we first returned from vacation, he walked into our apartment, surveyed what had become somewhat unfamiliar, poked out his lips and muttered, “I want to go home.” He looked puzzled and disappointed when I said, “You are home sweet pea.” He, too, had moved on to his new normal of zipping around his grandmother’s spacious house on his Thomas the Train scooter, running around in the backyard whenever he wanted, and splashing around in the pool. The only home that he has ever known was suddenly not where he wanted to be.
My son’s reaction and my own difficulty with settling back into our normal life, got me to thinking about our next “new.” Should I look for a new job and we live in a new state where we could enjoy the lifestyle that we seem to prefer? Should I buy him some new toys to make him feel better? What new weekend activities could we discover to take his mind off of what he was missing?
But as we settled back into our home life and routine, moments that could only be made where they happened, and with whom they happened, began to sneak up on me. Moments like walking my baby into his classroom for his first day at his new school. Or shooting the breeze over fried shrimp and fries on City Island on a ridiculously beautiful sunny day with one of my favorite girls. Or my BFF of 25 years and I laughing and battling the waves with our kids at the beach like we haven’t a care in the world. Or enjoying a solo run alongside the lake at one of my favorite parks on a slightly breezy end of summer morning.
These treasured times reminded me of the power of now, and how important it is to be present in a moment–no matter what the moment. Goal setting and looking ahead certainly gives our life dimension and keeps it moving forward. But there is something to be said for enjoying where we are in a moment without contemplating an agenda or direction. It is in these moments that some of the best times of our life are born.
Even times that don’t feel too good to us are meaningful. Whether it be a job that we hate, a relationship that is barely surviving, or a season of struggle in our lives, there is always something that we are to learn from these experiences–something that will eventually make us stronger and better. The key is that we have to be in the moment and draw from it what we need to push forward.
For certain, there is wonder and surprise in the new. But there is perspective and purpose in the present.
This is the power of now.
Are you present in your own life? What have you done to become more present? If you aren’t, what do you think you can do to become more present? Share your thoughts. Let me hear from you!