I am making a conscious effort to be more present in life. Perhaps it’s because of all of the sick days I spent lying on the couch in contemplation this year, or maybe it’s because I am gearing up to turn the big 3-0 and have pondered from time to time about the quickness of our lives here.
Time is something that we wish away during long work hours, chores, being sick, and other unpleasantries. But when I’ve done this in the past—wished away the work week or a day of illness—it seemed like the week passed in a haze and I woke up to Saturday. All of that time had passed without me being present in it. Once I made this realization a few years ago, I consciously decided that I did not wish to while away my weeks just because I may not be doing something I enjoy at the moment. This then led me to the realization that I need to enjoy whatever I am doing whenever I am doing it because years from now, I will miss this moment. I may complain about something right now, things may not be going according to my plans or according to where I thought I would be at the moment, but one day I will remember this time with a warm feeling, a soft giggle, and perhaps a bit of remorse if I had allowed it to easily slip away as ‘just another day’.
I want to live life more slowly.
Living more slowly doesn’t cost a dime. It is one of the most frugal ways to get more from life because it entails behavioral changes towards whatever it is that is in our lives right now. There is no need to purchase anything extra! Below are ways that I am going to be living live more slowly this summer. I’d love to hear your own in the comments below.
- Take in a Few Thunderstorms: When the next storm approaches, I am going to turn off the television, put down the magazine/book, and turn off the lights. In the darkness I may light a candle, grab some iced tea, and bear witness to some natural entertainment.
- Eat Breakfast out on the Gazebo: Paul moved two of our chairs from the patio to the gazebo, and it’s made all the difference. I now want an excuse (and don’t oftentimes need one) to sit on the chairs in the gazebo, surrounded by plants and flowers. One way I enjoy the area is by eating my breakfast out there on weekend mornings. I’ve got a great view of the bird feeders, the cats love to come outside and play with me, and the world seems pretty good.
- Take Daily Walks: During breaks at work I have started to walk around the outside of our building. I smell any flowers that cross my path (some are fragrant, others are not), I watch the clouds, I even spotted a turtle and blue heron sunning on the same rock in a little creek.
- Gather Food from Our Yard: Nothing helps me pause and slow down better than going through our backyard and picking herbs, fruits, and vegetables to use in cooking. We have basil, cilantro, tomatoes, lemons (though not ripe yet), a blackberry bush (no berries yet, but it is growing bigger each season), and grapevines. There is also a squash plant and two green pepper plants that are slowly getting bigger.
- Play with Our Cats: Playing with our cats brings me into the present moment very naturally. Lyla loves to be pet, and has grown to love brushing as well (bonus: she’s still shedding a good bit so brushing will help with that!). Danny Boy loves anything that moves. Anything. It is also so much fun to play with them outside. They hop around like bunnies and try to hide behind the low grass –very cute.
I know that I cannot really slow down time. But I might as well enjoy the time I have been given to its fullest. Here’s to a great summer of 2012!