Sometimes we wish our lives away. We may not do this consciously but from time to time, almost all of us wish for the end of the day, for the weekend to arrive, for a child’s stage to be finished, for a semester to be over, or we just wish to be done with a certain event. Then while we wish for the future to hurry up and arrive, we also lament how quickly time flies. Having trouble with time management? Perhaps the way we think has something to do with it. Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.
Anxiety is the gap between now and the future. The future can be scary or interesting. When we think about future events and consider the “unknown”, we open up a world of possibilities. While some of us think about the good possibilities, others consider all the possible disasters. This is where the optimists and pessimists go their separate ways. One way to manage our thoughts is to focus on what we want to have happen. Our minds are very powerful navigation systems which can lead us either toward our goals or off course “on a wild goose chase”.
Reflecting on the past can be joyful or depressing. Thinking about the past, we can recall fond memories of pleasant experiences, or we can open up the floodgates to a barrage of self-criticism. Looking back, we can compliment ourselves on things we have done right, or we can use this opportunity to harp on our mistakes. A variation on this theme is the tendency to use the past as a yardstick for perfection. If we think that the holidays used to be perfect, it becomes difficult if not impossible for all future holidays, events or performances to measure up.
Obsessing about the past and the future can be distracting. When we focus too much on the past, it’s like trying to drive forward while looking in the rear view mirror. Similarly, when we’re preoccupied with the future, it’s easy to lose sight of the present moment, making it easier to stumble and fall. Even when we are physically present, it is easy to be mentally absent and miss out on important moments.
For many reasons, it is good to focus on what’s happening now. From time to time, I have been known to trip and fall over my own feet, going down stairs, going up stairs or just walking across a room. Usually this occurs when my body is in motion and my mind is somewhere else. Some folks put down their keys, only to spend hours searching to find them again. Slow down, take time to breathe and pay attention to how funny life can be. From one moment to the next, the world does have quite a sense of humor.
©Copyright, 2013, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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