As I mentioned, it was early February. After I had struggled with getting the kids out of the car and into their classrooms (some days, the begging, bribing, coaxing, etc just doesn't work), I stood in the misty, winter weather in the parking lot chatting with one of my girlfriends (another parent, but I don't like the term "mom friend"). I was feeling worn out and slightly panicked and I couldn't really put my finger on why. I mentioned that the time of year always got to me. Christmas was over, we were into the New Year, my birthday had come and gone, and everything was wet and gray (depressing just writing this out). What was ahead of us now? More wet and gray. No significant holidays or breaks.
My friend brought up an article she had read about our attachment to "fleeting moments" that we, probably Americans, cling to. What's next? What's next? Holidays, birthdays, vacations. We put all of our energy into preparing for that "thing." Then it comes and goes and we're left with a sense of let-down. And we start looking for the next moment to put energy into. For me, I am realizing, when that thing/ moment/ event isn't on the horizon, I start to panic a little. Where is my energy supposed to go now? Yes, I have a family of five. Yes, I work full-time. Yes, I have so many pets, we look like we're running a suburban farm. Yes, I over-extend myself with volunteer work. But what is my next big THING??
The fact is these moments are, indeed, fleeting. That fourth birthday party, the big Easter dinner, the spring vacation. It makes me think of wedding planning. Months of organizing and energy go into this big (once-in-a-lifetime, we hope) event, then within a matter if hours, the wedding is over and the life-part has to pick up. And sometimes I think it's hard to just sit in the moments that are not fleeting.
How do we relax into the very moment we're in without putting our focus on the "what's next?" I'm not actually sure. I've spent so much of my life moving on to the next thing, sitting still is a challenge. But I want to figure it out. For my kids, and for myself. Unfortunately, I think that many of us are onto that next thing all the time because we think it will be better than where we currently are. In doing so, we're missing beauty in the nothing-special moments.
I really do love dinner when we're all just there because it's Tuesday and where else would we be? And I revel in the weekends when we have no plans, so we float around playing, or relaxing or running to the beach on a whim. In actuality, when I look at my life, the time between the fleeting moments is what has meaning. How we exist with our friends and family when we're not revolving around some big moment that will come and go. This is a process for me. I actually have to consciously choose to simplify my focus and not leave where I am now to anticipate the next "exciting" moment. Passing this along to my kids is worth the effort.
If we can all find happiness and balance in where we are now and all we have to look forward to, we will live more joy-filled lives. I've enjoyed sitting down for a bit to write. I'm happy to have a few things to look forward to. I'll still make plans, but I'm going to work at knowing that right here, right now will always be the best place.