We all live busy lives. Between work, school, family, and all the little activities we stuff into a day, 24 hours does not seem like enough time to get everything done. I often hear myself use the phrase "we need to hurry" to my kids because I literally do not have time to wait for them to try and put their own socks on, or take their agonizingly slow steps out to the car.
Even though I am the main reason my life is as busy as it is, I have a fear that one day I will wake up, my children will be grown and gone, and I will regret not cherishing those little moments that I did not have time for when they were young. To prevent this from happening, I know I need to make some changes in order to slow down and enjoy the moment rather than letting life just pass me by. Here are some things I have started to implement in my life.
Be on time
I hate being late. Unfortunately I usually am, so I am always anxious and stressed by the time I arrive at my destination. These feelings are sensed by my kids, so they in turn become stressed and anxious. The whole process of going somewhere turns into a hurried, crazy event with me yelling at my kids and silently cursing every red light. This is not the best way to try and enjoy the moment. The solution however is simple: leave earlier. In order to do this, I have tried to double the amount of time I think it will take to get ready. If I need 30 minutes, I give myself an hour.
Something will always come up. A dirty diaper, lost shoe, or tantrum can throw off my timing. By giving myself extra time, I can take things at a slower pace and not stress if I have to spend five extra minutes explaining that it really is important to wear pants when going outside to a defiant 2-year-old. This creates a much calmer and relaxing environment that is reflected in everyone's behavior.
Turn off electronics
Take some time each day to turn off all electronics. This includes the TV, radio, phone and everything that can be plugged in. I have started to do this recently and feel it is a great way to slow things down. What I found was that when there is no noise to distract them, my kids will make up songs to sing and dance to, play the piano and even read books to each other. These little moments may never have happened if I kept the TV on all day.
This includes the camera
As an avid scrapbooker and blogger, I want to record every moment of our lives. I already have the perfect caption to my picture, if I could just get the kids to pose the right way. But that hardly ever happens, so instead I spend 10 minutes trying to get them to smile and both look at the camera, which in turn takes away from the activity they are trying to enjoy. Sometimes I have to tell myself to just put the camera away and participate fully in whatever it is we are doing. Does this mean I may miss the perfect profile picture? Yes. But there is nothing wrong with keeping some special moments to yourself to relive through telling the story verbally for years to come.
I love watching the sun set. It is an activity that forces me to slow down. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make the sun set any faster than it wants to. The sun will set every day no matter what. If the day was good, bad, happy or awful, it will end and we can start fresh tomorrow. The sun setting is like a trigger for me to stop whatever I am doing and take a moment to think about my day. Sunsets are even better when I have my husband sitting beside me with a child in my lap. We have tried to make it a habit to say one good thing and one bad thing that happened to us during the day, and what we will look forward to tomorrow. Even if we are apart, we can stop and watch the sun go down knowing the other is doing the same.
I am a big advocate for vacations. It is almost a requirement to enjoy the moment while on vacation. They allow us to take a break from the grind of daily living, and give our minds and bodies a time recharge. Vacations can be some place exotic and new or in our own homes. You do not have to leave the state to go on vacation, but you do have to take time off from work and other responsibilities.
I have always kept some kind of journal since I was very young. Whether it is a physical journal from my youth, a book of song lyrics from my teenage years or an electronic blog in my adulthood, I have always had some way of recording my activities, thoughts and dreams. Now I can look back on those moments through these recorded forms and remember things I may have forgotten. It helps me to track where I am in my life and where I want to be. I can find changes I need to make, skills I still want to master and goals I have completed. As I write, I get to re-live the moments from my day, week or month and cherish once again the special times I had, or even cleanse myself from a hurt or disappointment I experienced. For me, it is the ultimate way to enjoy the moment.
The point is that each day offers you a new chance to enjoy the moments. Today is a new day, what are you going to do with it?