I have always been someone who looks ahead to the NEXT BIG THING. The next race, the next vacation, the next time I get to hang with _____, etc, etc. It's not uncommon for me to have had a daily countdown for marathon race day, or a big vacation I'm excited for. And I know I'm not the only one, it's exciting to look ahead to the future.
Last year when my mom was sick, we knew she had limited time. Most pancreatic cancer patients have 3.3 months from diagnosis to the time they pass. And it completely flipped my perspective. The instant my brain would start looking forward to "X" in the future, I would get really upset thinking that there was a strong chance that my mom might not make it to that period. I would be almost inconsolable.
Going back to yoga teacher training, one of the most profound pieces of information shared with me is:
If you're depressed, you're living in the past. And if you're anxious you're living in the future, and the only way to truly be at peace is by living in this exact moment.
Anytime I started to panic about that point in the future that my mom wouldn't be there, I would mindfully reel myself in telling myself that she was here, right now, in this moment, and I would call her. We had a LOT of conversations about what we were making for dinner in the last six months of her life. We had pretty much run out of things to talk about we were talking so much, but it really helped keep me in the present moment and out of the panic of anxiety.
Since my mom passed, it's been incredibly hard. And now my brain is conditioned to picking up the phone and calling her when I'm upset, and I can't do that anymore, but I so appreciate the experience that has taught me to live in this day in this moment, not spending my days counting down to the next big thing, but truly making the best of the current moment.
I also somewhat recently realized that all of that counting down I was doing, is almost wishing each day gone until that next big thing, wishing away life in the every day mundane. Life is too precious for that. I'm not sure where I was going with all of this, other than I felt I needed to write it down, and it's something I think about daily. I think we'd all be a little happier if we spent more time in the here and now.