Actions in the moment

There’s been an unintentional theme in my blog posts lately about living in the moment. I guess it’s how my brain is processing the inability to plan too far in the future during a pandemic. I see it as a positive way for the controlling part of my nature to handle emotions about situations over which I have little control.

I think sometimes about most of my 20s into turning 30 and how paralyzed I was by not being where I wanted to be in many areas. I think about my late teens, where I must have been similarly paralyzed my emotions I didn’t know what to do with. Paralysis that made me stagnate in my studies. Stagnate in my love for myself. Stagnate in thinking I deserved more. I don’t think being in the now is a reason to stagnate though. Rather, it’s a way to make the most of that moment. Those versions of Nicole (or Nic as many people used to call me and I wonder why that changed too. I wonder a lot), or even the much more balanced late 30s, early 40s version of myself, wouldn’t have believed that I would be content in my late 40s. That I would believe I deserved things. That I still think I have time. That I’d have a partner who sees me and appreciates me. I believe I partly have a more content life because I learned to make the most of the current moment along the way.

Nicole at 21 in Cuba. Living in the moment with early 90s fashion and probably a bit stagnated inside.

In the spirit of allowing ones self to be in the moment. Here are some suggested actions for different moments. Of course, they mostly involve some form of movement.

A drawing of a girl with a blond ponytail and red ribbon, wearing red dress with blue accents, blowing bubbles that read “live in the present moment”.

Are you having a good day? Jump for joy. Literally, do a few jumping jacks.

Are you mad at the government? Raise your arms, if that’s all you can do. A few times forward. A few times backwards. Go crazy and and do a few to the side.

Did you see a friend today outside and it lifted your spirits? Do a sun salutation or two, in thanks. Possibly a flow that includes Warrior 2 and 3? Those are good warriors, in my books.

Were you able to say what you wanted in that meeting, without anyone interrupting you? And people said they got what you were saying. They heard you! Does that make you feel like doing some push-ups?

Are you sad because your local boutique gym was closed again due to the pandemic? Missing the camaraderie around the rig? Do they have outdoor offerings and virtual classes in the meantime? Try those options out.

Are you missing a friend or relative, and their hug that used to engulf you? Scream. Punch a pillow a few times, or ten.

Did you get bad news? I’m so sorry. Cry, if you want. Or watch a movie that will let you think about something else for an hour or two.

You disagreed with someone about how to go about responding to this pandemic. Someone you usually agree with. Find some common ground. Maybe on a different topic.

Did you hit your stride on your jog today? Smiled at joggers passing in the opposite direction? Let the smiles settle in your soul.

Were there extra-annoying people at the store today? With their mask maddeningly falling beneath their nose? Or yelling into the coffee shop, maskless, spewing their aerosols about? Did you want to hate them for a second? Walk extra slow on the way home. Let those negative emotions dissipate in the air. Don’t take them home with you. Don’t direct them at someone else to keep the negative chain going.

Did your child learn something today that they didn’t know yesterday? Maybe they’d like to go gather leaves in the park or the yard and jump in them in celebration?

Was today the day you didn’t feel like getting up? You weren’t sure why? Take an extra-long nap. The other things can wait.

Are your knees creaky? Your lower back bothering you? Are you able to do some chair yoga? Or read a book that takes your mind on an adventure.

Was your patience thin today and you said something to the overworked pharmacist who was giving you your flu shot, that you wished you hadn’t? Apologize and make a point of breathing more and walking away for a few minutes the next time you are finding your mood needing a reset.

Were you worrying about the future today? What will be next week? Next June. Next September? Do what you can today. Day by day.

Readers, I hope you have actions in the moment that help you and don’t leave you feeling stagnated.

Nicole P. lives with her husband and two dogs. She’s working at home, working out at home and at the park or running on the sidewalks (distanced from others) and living in the moment.