Pay Attention, Now!

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Earl Nightingale

Ever found that you’ve got from one end of a month to the other and not really remembered what happened in between 1 and 31? We live our lives all too often in either a blur or a daze, but have you ever stopped to think that the life that you know now – the one you are living right now – could change instantly?

Whether it’s really bad, or really good, things will change, either because of tragedy, because we live a life of cycles and ebb and flow or because changes over time add up and then you get to a point where it’s too late to change things back, if at all. (That’s often where relationships break down, because you can’t begin to untangle the steps that got you to where you no longer love this person in front of you, or even sometimes, like them).

Nothing is permanent. Our normal lives can change through our choice or factors completely beyond our control, yet we live them as if all will be the same tomorrow and the next day, and the next. Even what we take for granted; especially what we take for granted. We stop living in the moment and stop paying attention to what brings us joy, not realising whatever we are doing right now could be the last time we ever do that thing. The “little happiness” and the “present moment” are things I’m learning about, and lately I’ve been thinking about all those other things we take for granted that bring us happiness or contentment that might not just be part of our lives the next day.

Whatever you’re doing today, whatever brings you joy – enjoy; it could be the last time you ever:

  • Speak to your mum on the phone (so did you really need to be ironing or cleaning at the same time)
  • Enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread, coffee, roses, perfume, babies, roast dinners, curries, wine, chocolate, great baking or crisps.
  • Read, to see the faces of those you love, a wedding dress, the colours of nature, the sky or the moon, snowdrops and bluebells.
  • Hear the wind or the rain beating on your house while you’re tucked up in bed, the sea, music – or a loved one’s voice.
  • Taste pavlova, ice cream sundaes, crème brulee, pate, fish and chips, pizza or chocolate cake
  • Drink cola, orange juice, wine, beer, champagne or any alcohol – so those long girlie cocktail afternoons will never be quite the same again
  • Have dinner with your closest friends before they tell you they are about to emigrate to the other side of the world.
  • Take your beloved pet for a walk
  • Feel your child slipping their hand into yours or you get a hug freely given without them looking to see if their friends see them doing it

My daughter is just about to make the very difficult decision to pull out of university until they figure out what is wrong with her health. Knowing she would be unable to graduate, she realised she was sitting in what was possibly her last ever lecture. It made her stop, slow down and notice all she hadn’t noticed before, to store it away in her memory bank. Most of us never get this chance; we don’t know we are doing something for the last time. We either miss their absence at some point in the future, or they come with no warnings, no fanfares, but life as you know it is no longer the same. You will get comfortable with a new normality – but perhaps it’s time to see the little happiness, live in the present moment. And pay attention. Now.

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