Stop! Take a Look Around

Pause ButtonThere’s an old expression, “the days are long, the years are fast.”  It’s been attributed to various sources over time.  Whoever said it first, next and last was so right!  Time does have a way of speeding by in a flash leaving us wondering where it went.  This is the case as parents, as professionals, as friends, as humans, in general.

I was reminded of this concept this morning as I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to sit in a friend’s living room and visit with a group of three other professional women for about two hours.  The conversation was lively and seamlessly flowed from one topic to another.  At one point, we started talking about presence and being in the moment; about not just allowing life to happen around us, but really being part of it.

It is so critical to simply pause and look around from time to time.  To really take account of what is happening in our world so that it becomes emblazoned in our memory.   Special moments, important moments, life altering moments, teaching moments.

As I shared this morning with my friends, just before Marc and I got married nearly 17 years ago, someone told me to pause throughout the evening – during the ceremony and the celebration that followed – to simply look around and take in what was happening around us.  She said everything would go by so quickly and she suspected I wanted to remember my own wedding day!  It was true – at the wedding, we reconnected with friends and family from all parts of our lives – it was the confluence of our years leading up to that important event.  I still feel lucky to this day that I was given such advice – it is those moments I still remember – those moments during which I hit the proverbial pause button and simply lifted my head to take a look around.  Even now, at events, even on plain old normal days, I try to put this advice to practice.

One way that I try to remember those little moments throughout the day is by utilizing a one-sentence journal.  A friend of mine presented one to me as a gift a few months ago and it has become a regular part of my daily routine.  The idea behind the journal, in this case Grethen Rubin’s terrific The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five-Year Record, is to simply document everyday life so I can look back years later – even months, weeks or days later – to recall moments gone by.  This type of record of our days reveals issues and items of importance, trends, topics, etc. going on in our lives.  It is a lovely cataloging of the way we spend our time.

How about you?  I encourage you to also commit to yourself to this practice regularly.  Stop! Take a look around. Don’t simply go through the motions of your life – engage, be the conductor, direct traffic, write your own script.  Take account of everything happening around you, happening to you.

2 Responses to Stop! Take a Look Around

  1. This is a great reminder.

    It made me think of all the wonderful people we encounter each day, but rarely engage with.

    Lately, I’ve been trying to change that habit for myself. Whether it’s a clerk at Target, the SPINNING instructor today at the gym, or the biker on the trail last night with his dog, Tierod, in a front pack, by reaching out I always feel richer afterwards. Of course, my goal is that the other person does too.

    • Great ideas, Don. The fact that we so easily come in and out of one another’s lives leaves a lot of room for relationship building every day. Thank you!

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