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Life Is What Happens …

A friend shared this quote with me the other day: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” (E.B. White) While living a present-focused life, it can sometimes seem difficult to both live each and every moment fully and not stress over the “to-do” list or plans yet to be made. I wanted to resolve this predicament — “How do I remain present and stress-free in those moments when what I am currently doing is not what I think I ‘should’ be doing?”


Recently, I have found myself struggling with being in the moment and not feeling anxious over how I am spending my time, especially now that I have a new job and a new partner and my time is no longer just mine to do with as I please. When I mentioned this to a friend, she offered some great advice. She said, “Fully commit to the moment and the choice you made. Some part of you chose to be there even if it wasn’t what you had ‘planned’.” This simple advice immediately helped me get a perspective on things and alleviate the anxiety I was causing in myself.

There are times when we need to make plans or schedule our time in a specific way, and even having a plan or intention can be very useful in life. And, many of us have responsibilities that require us to make choices with how we spend our time. However, sometimes we get so caught up in the planning and what we “should” be doing that we miss the very moment we are currently experiencing. This focus on something other than the Now can cause stress, anxiety and, sometimes, resentment.

Most of us have heard the song where John Lennon reminds us of an Allen Saunders’ quote:

Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.

What recently clicked for me is that each moment we are making a choice — sometimes it is a choice we made to love someone or have a certain job or take a specific route to work one day or have children. Those choices might mean that we spend our time in some way other than how we want or think we “should.” Rather than feeling anxious about that, remain present and commit to the choice you make in each moment.

I learned a mantra recently that reminds us “by letting go, it all gets done.” Choosing not to commit to each moment is to resist what is. And, one truth I have discovered recently is that to resist causes suffering. Every person can feel less anxious and remain present by recognizing that each moment is a choice and committing to that choice 100%.

What do you do in those moments when you find yourself “should-ing” all over yourself to alleviate some of the stress or anxiety? Share your thoughts or tips by leaving a comment.

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