“If you’re always rushing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”
At one point or another we’ve all thought about how life goes by so unbelievably fast. But have you ever thought maybe life “happens” so quickly because you let it? You spend so much time thinking about what needs to be done tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, or even next month.
I’m completely guilty of thinking about homework assignments, what I’ll eat for dinner 6 hours later, or scrolling through my phone instead of paying attention to a lecture during class or even a conversation with a friend.
And naturally we’re beyond excited when a crazy and stressful week finally ends. But do you ever realize you can’t point out a single moment you truly enjoyed over the past 7 days?
Over the past few months I’ve embraced and have decided to live by the expression carpe diem – the Latin phrase meaning to seize the day. (You’ve probably seen it countless times as your friends’ Facebook and Instagram captions).
I see carpe diem as an idea with two layers:
- Being mindful, present, and appreciative of each and every moment
- Seizing each moment and actually doing something with your time
Mindful or Mind Full?
“Being mindful”… kinda sounds like a lot of work and brain power right? And it is, but once you start doing it, it honestly becomes as vital and second nature as breathing. So how do you do it? How do you truly enjoy each moment?
Take a sec and stop thinking about what’s due. Stop thinking about how maybe you should be working right now. Stop thinking about anything that’s been bothering you this week. Instead, enjoy this present moment. Enjoy the song you’re listening to or the silence of the room you’re in. Focus on and appreciate every breath you’re taking right now and how at this very moment you’re simply reading a blog post and nothing else. Simply existing.
Doesn’t that feel so much better than letting your mind roam and worry? When I catch myself overthinking or freaking out about something that has already happened or is going to happen, (which happens a lot), I do this exercise and choose to be in the present moment. I challenge you to try that a few times a day. Then take it a step further and make it a habit. Treat every moment of your day like this. Be present.
The next time you’re walking around campus or on your way to work, be in that present moment. If it’s a nice day, roll down your windows and appreciate it rather than spending the entire car ride dreading and worrying about the day ahead of you. On my way to class I love listening to my favorite playlists to get my day started instead of mentally complaining about my 8 AM calculus class. Mindfulness is truly a conscious decision.
Once you’re able to be mindful and appreciative of moments, it’s about seizing them and doing something with your time and essentially your day.
We come up with so many “reasons” (which are really just excuses) as to why we can’t do something we’re truly passionate about doing. You might say to yourself “over summer break I’ll finally…” or “when I graduate I should definitely…”
But what about right now or today? Sometimes you really just get in your own way. So instead of this idea of when I have time, try making time.
As a college student or young professional you’re probably thinking “yeah right..if I had time then I’d be doing what I want with it”. You have exams to study for and endless assignments to do – trust me I know! Being mindful and seizing the day isn’t about putting off responsibilities or neglecting schoolwork. It’s about making the most of the time you do have. It’s about making time for what you want to do. Trust me it’s possible, it just takes a conscious effort.
I absolutely have to schedule breaks throughout my day, between studying, classes, and meetings. And most likely, you aren’t working every single minute of the 24 hours in a day either. Sometimes during your breaks you might totally veg out and binge watch Netflix or spend time scrolling through Instagram and Facebook – (which is definitely what I do sometimes). But that same amount of time could also be spent working on something “you never have enough time to do”. Whether your break is 15 minutes or a few hours, it’s your time. You’ll be amazed at what gets accomplished if you decide to seize it.
Again, it’s all about a conscious decision to change what you’ve been doing probably most of your life. You have to decide to be mindful and enjoy the moments that make up your day. And you have to decide to be proactive and use those moments to do something you’ve been putting off. For example, I’ve always wanted to start this blog. By being appreciative of moments everyday and seizing them as opportunities, I’m finally able to do it J
So whether you’ve been dying to try that recipe you saw on Pinterest last week, always wanted to get into painting, photography, play an instrument, become a DIY guru, or create a website – Carpe Diem, and do it!