The Woman I Almost Was

by Stella Forth

This morning I was trolling on facebook. Or is it ghosting? I don’t know my urbanese nowadays. Anyway, I was looking at the pages of the family that I used to call my in-laws and my exes.

Don’t judge, you do it too.

Partially, I worry about those who were sickly and wonder if they have passed on. Partially I wonder about the little kids and how they’ve grown up. Then, truthfully, a part of me wonders where I would have ended up if I would have sucked it up and stayed where I was.

Thank goodness I had enough sense to go.

I would have had a kid. I wouldn’t have been in the job where I am now. I definitely wouldn’t have had the amazing friends around me that I do, who support and understand where I want to be and push me to achieve my goals. I definitely wouldn’t have had the partner and confidant in my partner the way I do now.

Today’s post is how to remain grateful and present in the moment.

  1. Look back. Realize where you came from. Review the old pictures. Right now I bought a kit from Legacy Box that I’m getting ready to troll through the pictures in my attic. I’m not going to forget who I was in high school, in college, when I got married the first time, when I was single later. In fact, who I am now is because of who I was then. Plus, I want to share my life with my kid, in fact this post from a A Cup of Jo really prompted me to make sure that I preserve my growing up for my own kid to relate to.
  2. Look forward. I’m a planner. I always will be. Given our relatively routine life, I can tell you what I’d like to be doing every month of the year. Thanks to Pinterest, I can now even figure out what each season holds when it comes to making good ol’ fashioned family memories with my family. As I type this, I’m thinking about the upcoming pumpkin picking, and the very Autumnal sweet potato soup I’m making tomorrow. I love having these events coming up, but I need to start realizing that living ahead of the day takes me away from living today.
  3. Look right now. This is what I want to start doing more. My kid is only this age ONCE. Heck, I’m only this age once. Stop, play with him. Read the book I want to read. Buy the dress in the window in a larger size because I’m not the size 6 I want to be right now. Take the tiny moment in between work and the next event to look at my husband’s 5 o’clock shadow and feel it against my cheek. Enjoy what I have. Get what I want, but want what I get. Take a minute to breathe in the life I planned, and the life unplanned. I need to be more in the moment.

I’m trying to do this more and more, so here’s a few tricks I’ve tried thus far.

I keep a calendar. That way once it’s all planned, tickets bought and meal set, I don’t have to think about it until it’s here and ready to enjoy.

I try to stop and take “mental pictures”. I’m a photographer, and I find that sometimes I spend too much time trying to capture the perfect frame rather than living in the frame. I still take pictures, but I also try to stop and just shut my eyes – like a shutter – and remember things in my heart instead. It gives me a moment in the moment that rewards me with the little flutters.

I try not to think 5 seconds ahead. If I plan a day out, I plan it at once, and try to just roll with the punches the day of if something goes awry. Trying to think an hour ahead about where we’re gonna be and what our needs are only takes me away from the here and now. Taking an hour to plan a trip a week ahead to somewhere new rather than just buying tickets and being spontaneous makes the day of more enjoyable for me.

I make things “routinely new”. My husband is the ultimate creature of habit. He has eaten the same breakfast nearly every day of our marriage. He likes the same brands. He’s loyal to the things that have worked in his life. I’ve actually taken a ton of comfort in his want to be consistent. So while we have many new adventures popping up in our calendar as our baby turns into a full blown toddler, I also love the days that we “revert & convert” our old before-kid standbys into family outings. Our favorite cafe has high chairs and I already know what to expect. We were zoo members while I was pregnant and are very familiar with the layout. These routines feel so second hand that now I can fixate on the moments we’re experiencing.

How do you get in the moment without thinking about the 100’s of other things going on?I do a few things, but I’d love to hear what your methods are!

Photo Credit

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