Are you a Coulda.. Shoulda… Woulda…?
Confession time: I play dangerous mind games.
Maybe you do, too.
I’m great at this first game. The “Coulda/Shoulda/Woulda” game. I’m great at it. Professional level stuff.
I can sit and ponder all of the many choices that have landed me right where I am. Asking the dangerous question of what would have happened if only I had done something different. Made a different choice. Found myself on a different path.
Why is it dangerous? Because it keeps me looking backwards. That game keeps me in the past.
And it actually puts me into a funk for the present.
But that’s not the only game I’ve been known to play. Nope.
The Problem with “When I…”
Why dwell on past decisions when I can have the added fun of stressing about the future?
Let me introduce you to the other dangerous mind game I play.
I call it the “When I…” game.
I ponder all the things I will do when I have more time. When I get a new job. When I can retire from that new job. When I win the lottery.
It keeps me looking forwards. This game has me focused on the future. The reality of this game is that it never ends. When you get there, there’s always another something luring you just over the horizon.
And if we are honest with ourselves, we probably all play both games too much.
It’s hard to appreciate right where you are in the moment when your focus is looking backwards or forwards.
That’s why I love this time of year. November is a month focused on gratitude. Thanksgiving helps us refocus. On what’s important. On what’s around us. On the blessings we experience today. In the moment.
When we celebrate Thanksgiving properly, we may reflect on the past and ponder the future but we dwell in neither.
We enjoy the present.
Making the Most of Moments as they Come
True gratitude is being thankful for right where God has us, in the moment we experience it.
As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, make it a goal to truly be present each day and to savor each and every moment. Every conversation. Every interaction. Every relationship.
Because if we don’t, we may be missing some of the best moments of our lives.
One of the most poignant quotes I’ve heard in terms of valuing the present came from – of all places – The Office. The popular sitcom that made it’s debut over a decade ago was ripe with inappropriate, sometimes idiotic, behavior set in an office where almost no work ever seemed to happen.
You wouldn’t think that such a profound quote could come from a show filled with (hilarious) ignorance and insensitivity. But Ed Helms’ character captured the perfect thought during the season finale.
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” – Andy Bernhard
This. Right now. These are the good old days.
What would happen if you started living with the realization that today is the “good” in the good old days you’ll remember in years to come?
What’s Your Next Move?
So what is it exactly that I’m recommending? Well. In a word: nothing. Maybe even power down the device you are reading this on.
Get off the phone. Put down the pen. Stop wasting today by scrolling through your feeds to see how others are spending this moment. And instead, breathe in your own moment. Today.
Disconnect to reconnect.
Don’t let this Thanksgiving pass you by without experiencing the moments that bring you true gratitude.
Stay in the present. It’s lovely this time of year!
Creative Commons image courtesy of simpleinsomnia.