It has happened. One instant, it was Halloween and we were eating pizza in our polyester costumes (OK, that was me). And now, all of the sudden, the shops in Anchorage have totally transformed into winter wonderlands, ready for the holiday rush. I have noticed a few things while out and about observing. For one, all that rushing seems to start earlier and earlier each year. That’s really no surprise. What is a little surprising to me is that the stores no longer have deep shame in this. There is nothing stopping them from putting a Christmas tree in the window before Thanksgiving. In my day, this was a no-no. There was a wind up before the big pitch, like a slow-moving carousel that gradually picks up speed until your hair is blowing in the wind.
I’ll admit that as a working mother, I am on the Bad List for burning the candle at both ends. The carousel is spinning, but instead of enjoying the ride, I’m a few Lego-dodging steps ahead of all of this fun. I’m thinking about what I need to do tonight to not totally embarrass myself (or my kids) at that thing tomorrow. Sometimes I feel like I’m barely making it. But I’ve learned a little trick that has helped me, and I wanted to share it with you.
A while back, on my 40th birthday, I gave myself a gift. I decided to stop all this nonsense of waiting for tomorrow and to start living in the moment (LITM). I know what you’re thinking, and you are right — this is cliché for sure. You’ve heard it in your favorite songs, and you’ve seen it on a thousand motivational posters. But my take on it is different, I promise.
Here’s a good self-check. Do you have a beautiful pair of shoes in your closet that you just never wear because you don’t want to ruin them? If you do, then I bet you also have an expensive candle tucked away somewhere in your home that you haven’t burned because you don’t want to “waste” it.
Let me give you a personal example. I have a cutting board in my house that is one of those built in, pull-out types. My house is older, but somehow, this thing hadn’t been used before. For the past 2 years, I’ve kept it that way, laboring over a huge countertop cutting board that is a pain to wash and dry. Then one day, over a head of butter leaf lettuce, I just decided to stop all this boloney and LITM. Just do it. Carpe diem. I chopped away. You know what? It wasn’t ruined. My house isn’t less valuable. It may only be lettuce, but it was freeing, and I suggest you try it.
Another example, this one even more personal. My looks. This is a big one for many, many people. Who doesn’t have that pair of jeans for “someday,” that are just too tight for today? How about a plan to lose those last stubborn 10 pounds? Don’t judge me, but my “big one” is a nose job. I’ve wanted this, dreamed of this, for as long as I can remember. But I keep putting it off for “someday.” Sometimes, I get as close as to researching plastic surgery in Anchorage. (Shout-out to Alaska Center for Ear Nose and Throat; I think you’re the bees knees.) I know that I would feel so good about myself after finally getting that nose I wasn’t blessed with at birth. I’ve worked hard at that aforementioned working mother thing, and I can afford it now. But I believe there’s something in all of us that resists following through with our hopes and dreams. Don’t worry; it’s easy to overcome.
You’re going to need a good reminder. A slogan. A mantra, if you’re into that. Because once you open your eyes to them, LITM moments are going to pop up literally everywhere. Here’s mine: You are in your prime. This is the best day of the best year. Of your life. Don’t put things off. Don’t wait for another day because it may never come. Do it today. Get the rhinoplasty. Wear the shoes.
Believe me, I totally get that you’re driving the kids around, cooking dinner, picking up the dry cleaning, whatever it is that you do when you’re not LITM. But for goodness sake, stop it. Ask yourself these 2 questions:
- Is this something I truly want?
- Is there harm in doing it now rather than waiting?
If the answer to No. 1 is “yes,” and No. 2 “no,” go for it while you have the energy.
OK, so maybe your 40th birthday isn’t coming up and you don’t have that same opportunity as I did to give yourself the gift of LITM. But you know what is coming up? Christmas. Or so say the stores. Why not give yourself a little something that will make every day special. Oh, and about that expensive candle. When you’re burning the metaphorical candle at both ends, don’t forget to actually burn that candle. Just trust me.