Hot Tips on Staying Present from a Person Who Struggles with Staying Present
The best way to learn mega life lessons is to be truly terrible at some major life components to start out with. Example: I appear to have become a health resource amongst my peers because I spent my formative years sedentary and gorging my anguish on diet Mountain Dew, lettuce and air. Up was my only viable directional option in that department. Likewise, perfectly functioning humans who date a lot of garbage humans or vice versa can become, respectively, been there-done that doctors of love and humans with a more human/less garbage ratio.
I'm writing this on my porch in a leopard print muumuu and Baby Spice bun-hair soooooooo my relationship advice wouldn't be suuuuuuuuper relevant rn. But I think about staying present much more often than I think about how to bring boys to my metaphysical yard, namely because my number one fear in life is that, at any given moment, I'm not really living. And that's my number one fear because too much of the time, it's true.
I've had different reasons to avoid being wherever my Nike Dunks happen to stand: If I have a looming deadline. If I feel physically unwell, or uncomfortable, or unattractive. If a ptsd-induced spark of hot panic electrifies my insides at the mere thought of having missed an urgent call... which happens every time I set down my phone because my nerve endings are frayed electrical wires, and whenever I do anything that could otherwise engage my whole head and potentially my hands, I worry about the various emergencies I could be missing. You know. Cats in trees 'n stuff.
If you, too, are afflicted by mobile device separation anxiety, existence avoidance due to general burnout and self doubt, and a love/murder relationship with the influx of overstimulation that is Millenial Lyfe™, here are some pro-tips for checking yo'self before you wreck yo'self.
1. Actually engage the company you keep in conversation. Ask questions. Care about answers. Pinch yourself every so often to make sure you're not using your technology or your alcoholic(!) beverage(!) as a crutch, and try to focus on the people you're with instead of yourself and the possibly stupid things you're saying. If they're you're friends, then they already know if you're stupid and they don't mind. But you're not stupid because you're here! (Girl with outstretched hand emoji. Thumbs up emoji. Magic sparkles emoji.)
2. Make it a point to do something daily that requires your full attention. Maybe it's yoga or meditation or journaling. Maybe it's, like, a really good hug and then you talk about how good of a hug it was afterwards. Idk, but whatever it is, let that focus carry you through the rest of your day. Case in point: I got my first ever reflexology massage on Friday and it occurred to me, as someone I didn't know was getting handsy with my right femur, that my only priority was to enjoy myself. And at yoga afterwards, my only priority was to move in a way that felt nice. And at a bar later that night, my only priority was to have fun. We can't always eliminate multi-tasking, but when we CAN shut it down, we should.
3. Because, tbh, appreciating your life IS your number one priority. So try not to feel bad if you can't be all things to all people at all times. In truth, you're probably the only one putting that pressure on yourself in the first place. Who, me?
I had a beautiful weekend comprised of equal parts reflective downtime and opportunities to practice presence with others, and I'm hopin' to ride this precise feeling all week. If said feeling is appropriate for the moment, of course. (Big eyed emoji.)