What does it mean to live in the moment? This is a question I recently have spent a lot of time pondering. After a recent death in a friend’s family, I faced these hard questions myself. Am I where I want to be in life right now? What if I died tomorrow? Can I confidently say that I lived in the moment and actually took the time to enjoy life?
In thinking about those questions, I was faced with a lot of hard truths. I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Death has a way of throwing what’s important in your life, square in your face. I struggled to grapple with how I should dedicate my time. Being a young adult, there’s a pressure to constantly move up in life. You’re told to graduate college, find a job you love, get married, buy a house, get a new car, start a family. Every single one of those achievements are massive and hard to accomplish. Each time I was able to check one off of the list, it felt like it was time to move onto the next big endeavor. In doing so, I’ve realized that I stopped living in the moment. Life is flying by faster than ever and I would love to hit the pause button. But how?
I’ve recently spent some time watching various speakers talk about success and happiness; the message that keeps standing out to me is such a simple, repeatable behavior. Those who are most successful at maintaining happiness are the ones that practice gratitude. I realized that I haven’t allowed myself any time to just pause and think about all the great things I have in life, at this very moment.
A gratitude practice can look different for different people. These are some of the practices I have found helpful in cultivating and maintaining a gratitude practice:
I can’t pause life, but I can pause myself and dedicate time to thinking about all the things I can be grateful for. Since realizing that I have control of my pause button, I’ve noticed a lot of the stress that I was carrying has melted away. I’ve been able to just enjoy the moment and be. I feel happier, and I feel alive.