On being present.

It seems to be this way every year — I wake up and it’s suddenly January. Christmas lights have been taken down, cinnamon candles snuffed out, gingerbread cookies meeting their fate at the bottom of a Glad bag. And the holiday season — my favorite season — has come and gone in a daze.

This season has always made me (and millions of other bloggers and people) a bit reflective. I think about the past year, all of the things I’ve accomplished, all that I did not, what I’m proud of, what I regret or wish I did more.

2011 was a blur.

So many times, I looked back on an evening, on a day at work, on a weekend trip, and can hardly remember what I did. Jetting in and out of the city, eating, drinking, working, exercising, — I was constantly moving this past year. It was a year of busy. Of hustle.

New Years Eve 2011 seems like another lifetime.

As I dive into 2012 with a little less certainty but just as much ambition, my goal for this year is to be present. Live in the moment — this very moment, right now.

I don’t believe this is going to be easy. At all. Because being a Type-A, have-to-plan-every-single-thing-if-it’s-not-in-my-Google-calendar-it-doesn’t-exist kind of person doesn’t exactly play nicely with the idea of letting go of control and being in the now.

My whole life has been about what’s next. I worry about things I need to do, about what might happen. I’m anxious that things might go wrong. I hope for things, dream. And, of course, I relive the past. I wonder what would have happened if I had done something differently. I’m human.

But this year, I choose to think of what’s happening right now, at this moment and not be clouded by worries, or failures, or uncertainties.

I’m far from alone on this journey. There’s a concept called Flow and, in summary, it’s about losing yourself in what you’re doing — reaching that magical zone where you forget about the outside world and are completely doing just what you’re doing. WIth all of the distractions in the world, this magical zone is pretty hard to achieve.

As of now, the only time I get there (occasionally) is when I write. And that’s my absolute favorite time — when there’s not a thing in the world that could puncture my focus.

It’s going to take practice; honing in on my brain, forcing it to focus on one activity, letting that one activity envelop me in a sense of carefree balance. A feeling of being alive.

I’ll start with writing. Once a day, for thirty minutes. Either here, or elsewhere on the Internet (or better yet, in my handwritten journal that hasn’t seen the light of day in months).

Writing with focus, with heart, with passion, will be a good start to leading me into the present moment. And ideally, this focus and heart and passion will bleed into every aspect of my life. Because I don’t want to miss anything. 

From Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist:

Norah: Are you sad that we missed it?

Nick: We didn’t miss it. This is it.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam January 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

Happy New Year.

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Lauren January 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

Thanks, Adam. You too :)

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Maria January 3, 2012 at 10:13 am

yes this is it! Head where your feet are at!

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Lauren January 3, 2012 at 11:57 am

Exactly, Maria! This has always been a challenge. I’m excited to give it a good try.

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Cameron January 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

You know, I first heard the idea of “being in the present” from Star Wars Episode I. As shitty as that movie was, it was a definite life lesson I took to heart; I wish you luck on this challenge!

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Lauren January 3, 2012 at 11:57 am

If you have any tricks up your sleeve, don’t be shy :) Happy New Year, Cam.

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terra January 4, 2012 at 7:32 am

Being present is one of the hardest things for me. I’m the same way with the planning – I’m always leaning forward, looking toward the next thing, and it’s always been hard for me to focus on THIS MOMENT.

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Grace Boyle January 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Beautiful :)

Good thing to push for in 2012!

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