I was in my house last week, staring at my dog. He was sitting on the floor eating a toy we had bought him only hours ago. It was down to its fluffy, cotton innards. Every now and then he would stop, pant to catch his breathe, and resume his work. For no reason at all, I started getting sad.
I began thinking about how many toys he'd chewed up since he was a puppy. Then I thought about how many toys he might have left to chew before... well, before. When my wife asked me what I was doing and I explained, she almost laughed. As she should have, it was a ludicrous thought. There is almost no benefit to living our lives with that mindset.
It is impossible to know how long any of us have and letting grief of future loss overwhelm us can steal the joy of the present. Instead of imagining the later, we should be living for now.
Here are three things I've been doing to try and live for now:
According to the EndcorineWeb, "Doomscrolling – sometimes also referred to as doomsurfing – is a phenomenon where you constantly scroll or surf through social media and other news sites in order to keep up with the latest news – even (and, it seems, particularly) if the news is bad." I've found this to have particularly negative affect on my ability to remain present and positive. Social media wants you to see whatever will be most emotionally impactful, regardless of whether they are positive or negative emotions.
Lean Into Nostalgia
Nostalgia is a feeling of longing or wistful affection for the past. The Holiday's can be a season chock full of nostalgia, and we should lean into it. This can provide a sense of comfort and remind us, not only of how good things used to be, but that we are creating future moments of nostalgia right now.
Do Things with Others
Play a board game. Listen to a podcast together. Go shopping. Play a sport. Workout. Bake something. Make a gingerbread house. Clear your mind of future worries by keeping it occupied with the task and people at hand.
We can't know how much time we have on this Earth and over-scrutinizing the possibilities won't make today any more joyous. Stop living for then and start living for now.
Decide how much time you'll spend scrolling on social media every day. Stick to it.
What relationship in your life will improve if you start living for the now?
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” - Bill Keane