Living in the Present

Whilst Stumbling the other day, I came across this quote..

dalai lama

I’m sure I’m not the first person to reflect that he is indeed a wise man! These are easy traps to fall into in today’s world.

Before Boo’s arrival, I was all about my work. I was good at it, I was respected and I enjoyed it. I climbed a ladder relatively quickly, and I was getting near to the top of it. I earned good money and drove a nice company car. I didn’t have to think about whether I could afford anything, I rarely knew how much was in my back account to the nearest few hundred, and we spent time shopping, eating out and planning fabulous holidays. In the little free time that we actually spent together, that is.

Then along came Boo. My job just didn’t seem that important any more, so I decided to give it up, and though I now drive a not-so-impressive car, have no real expendable income and can tell you how much is in my bank account to the nearest £1, I’m happier. I do wonder what my health and stress levels would be like if I still spent all those hours in that job, with long commutes and then trying to devote time to my family, too. Sure, we’d have a fair bit more money, but at what real price?

Boo made me re-evaluate our lives, and made me stop and think about happiness. And so I thank her for it.

Little Man’s arrival, or more accurately, him turning 1, has been another moment to question things. We don’t plan to have any more children. I won’t need to be taking any more maternity leave, or be practically attached to a child 24/7. So, this could be the time for a change again.

I do reflect back, that when Boo was 10 months old (a couple of weeks after I’d finished breastfeeding her) I started my own business, which I’m fortunate to still be enjoying and am still seeing it grow. When Little Man turned 10 months old (a couple of weeks after I’d finished breastfeeding him) I started this blog. Both are making me happy and challenging me. Right now.

I don’t over-think the future, as if I’d worried too much about the future, and not about the present, I’d have been clinging on to that old career and the great pension scheme with all my might. Why obsess about what ‘might’ make me happy in 20 years time, instead of enjoying the children that definitely do make me happy right now? I do ponder the future, we do save, we do have various insurances and plans in place, but I don’t let it rule our decisions about now.

When I was little, my dad started his own business. I admire him for it, and suspect it’s gone a long way in influencing my work ethic and my desire to work for myself. But, the flip-side was that he was rarely around when I was young. He was so busy working hard for us to have a better future, he missed the present and pretty much our entire childhood. I don’t want that. And the irony? Just as life was getting comfortable, and my brother and I were in our late teens, he left. Maybe living for the moment would have worked better there?

I’ve lost two good friends already in this world, one to a traffic accident and another to cervical cancer. I know that life is short, and that for some, an early end can come and claim them. Why obsess about something I may do at 60, when I may not reach 40? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I worry more than the next person about my own mortality, and I certainly try not to dwell on it, but with these tragedies comes perspective. I don’t want to graft and miss out on now, for a future that may never even come.

What do I want for our future? Well, I know I want to continue to be here for the children, I want us to have more money to spend on little treats, I want us to continue having the great amount of family time that we do have, but most importantly, I want us to be happy. Not at some distant point in the future, but now and every day. What makes us happy? Well, I believe it’s quality time spent with each other, as well as having our own interests and challenges to keep us enthusiastic about our days.

So, once in a while, I mind-map what we want and how we can achieve it. That’s how I like to get my thoughts out and get them into some sort of order. I might mind-map totally random stuff one day, and then pick it up and expand on it a week later, then draw a list from it a week on from that, and so on. It helps me to focus. It’s a simple method, but it keeps happiness as the main goal, and suggests priorities and ideas to help us be there and get there. I aim to enjoy now, and put plans in place so that we can keep on enjoying it.

Do you live like this? How do you prioritise and make plans?

I’ll leave you with this thought..

whatever you decide to do


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28 thoughts on “Living in the Present”

  1. You are right life is far too short! It is amazing how much your life changes when you have children and how some things just don’t seem important anymore. My life has definitely changed for the better since I had children and I wouldn’t want it any other way (although it has taken me a little while to realise this!)

    1. It can do! I just think you can get caught up in planning ahead and working hard for the future, and not appreciate the here and now sometimes.

  2. Thank you for posting this – thoughts similar to this have been rattling around my brain and I’ve finally gotten them to the page. This is a beautiful expression of what is good and loving in the world. Thank you.

  3. Beautifully worded post. Having children has changed how I view myself as much as the wider world. I too worry a little about the future but know how precious life is and aim to enjoy it for all it’s worth. I’m doing things now I never believed possible so who knows what next year will bring, let alone the next ten. I want to enjoy today as much as possible. I love your quotes-perfect.

    1. Thank you very much. It can be do easy to get caught up worrying about the future, and as it’s one we’ve yet to write, why do that? As you say, look at our lives in the last year, and who knows where we’ll be this time next year – just be happy enjoying the journey x

  4. This made me think. I gave up my job to raise my baby and now, even though I don’t do all the things I used to love, I am happy. I could always go out and do something new, but at the moment, I just want to spend every waking moment with my son!

    1. Yes, I think that’s it. There will be more time later on, but you can’t get this back, and if it’s making you happy, do it. Appreciate your comments x

  5. Enjoyed reading your post. My partner was made redundant this year which has made us re-evaluate things. Whilst he got a temporary job earning again the hours were awful and we never saw him, sometimes the money just isn’t worth it.

    1. Thank you. It’s such a difficult balance, I know, as clearly we need money, but at what point do we sacrifice time for it? Glad you’re managing to get the balance back for your family.

  6. Jocelyn you’ve spoken right to heart with this post! The Dalai Lama is of course a very wise man, and it’s utterly insane how people will (ultimately) end up sacrificing their happiness for money. Mind mapping sounds interesting, must give it a go! Sorry about your friends, good people are often taken too soon xx #PoCoLo

    1. Thank you, they were wonderful people. Glad that the post has spoken to you. It’s easy to get lost on the treadmill sometimes. Mind-mapping always helps me – with pretty much anything! If I want something, need a change, looking for fresh ideas, have too much in my head, I mind-map. Try it!

  7. This is such a great post – every now and then I like to assess where I am and whether I am happy with my life (this is why I started blogging and went back to writing poetry) and as hard as it is at times I try to focus on the now and here then the possible futures… in a way it is easier with a toddler because he constantly lives in the now!

    1. Thank you. Yes, you’re right – toddlers do keep us focused like that. And how fab that you now have your blog and published poetry from stopping and thinking like this x

  8. One of my favourite quotes ever has been by Pascal in his Pensees about how we dwell on the future and never pay attention to the present “So we never live, but hope to live, and since we’re always planning how to be happy it is inevitable that we should never be so.” So many times I’ve had to pause and think of these words so that I reevaluate what makes me happy right now. Love your post.

  9. I put this quote on my Facebook timeline the other day – Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~ Steve Jobs. I am so with you on this post. Great quote from the Dalai Lama too. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

  10. Yep, my favourite quote is ‘you don’t only live once. You only die once, you LIVE every day’. What I do doesn’t make me happy anymore, it’s too stressful. I don’t want to give up when I only have 9 months left of my degree though, and when the boys are older… I might find my passion again and won’t have to start from the beginning. In the mean time I’m just trying to make the most of every day I have with them x

    1. I do like that quote. I think there are times, hopefully short-lived, where you keep on going because you know it’s a little grump for longer term happiness, so I’m hoping that’s where you are & in just 9 months time, life can be what you want it to be again. And yes, in the meantime, grab & cherish those moments.

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