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Monday, March 12, 2012

Living in the Here and Now

Growing up, all the way through high school, I tended to live in the past. I would dwell on some previous argument or task I had messed up on, rather than thinking toward the future. At some point I realized I had been living in the past too much, and to make up for it I turned toward the future. Planning for the future is great. I love being able to set goals and attempt to achieve them, and I love organization. Thinking toward the future helped me with both of these.

However, at some point my forward-planning began to consume me. Rather than ever having a moment and enjoying the current happenings, I would constantly be thinking about what I still needed to do tomorrow or next month or next year.

Having a baby somewhat forced me to think about the present, but it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I realized just how much I have been missing. I would be admiring how adorable Nathan is, and how fast he was growing, but this would lead me to thinking about other things. The only real time I would stop planning would be under stress of baby being sick or inconsolable. Only high levels of stress due to concern for my baby would  keep me planted in the present.

I was reading an article (Enjoy Every Moment by Nicci Micco in American Baby magazine)  that was discussing tips on how to remember the important things when it occurred to me just how much I needed to STOP overplanning and overthinking the upcoming days. It advised that in order to enjoy the day-to-day and avoid going on autopilot each day, I needed to stop and purposefully think of what was happening then and there.

Tips included:

During nursing sessions, take mindful breaths
This one is pretty straightforward - stop, take a few deep breaths, and just enjoy the quiet moments together.
When rocking your sweetie, focus on your movement
As opposed to focusing on the need to get baby to calm down, or to fall asleep, just focus on keeping steady, smooth motions.
Follow [his or] her lead
This refers to the focus that babies have for the task at hand. When they see their favorite toy they don't let petty distractions keep them from their goal! Their stare it intense and focused and their joy once they accomplish their goal is palpable.
Embrace your excitement
When you feel the excitement of a newly reached milestone or event, share it with those close to you. Think about every detail, with the intention of remembering it all.
Just after [he or]she dozes off, linger by the crib
While it can be such a huge relief to finally get baby to sleep, stay nearby for just a couple of minutes and admire how adorable your child is. How sweet and quiet and innocent he or she is. Just try and enjoy every little thing.

Essentially, this article is all about enjoying the times we take for granted, and taking a moment here and there to focus on what is good in life.

In the last few days since I've been putting these tips to the test, I find that I am a lot happier and more patient with Nathan, and with my life in general.

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