About living in the moment

This week I had an epiphany moment. I realized how many times I have been living in the past, living in the future, but not living in the moment. Living in the moment means all in with the present, whether it is a good or a dark time. Fully engage with what life is showing you now and give your best try.

Do you have a time that you regret doing something and think what if I hadn’t done that? Do you have a hard time letting go of someone and moving on? Do you have someone in the past who still has power in your current life? For example, you become revengeful after someone did you wrong. If you are guilty of those mentioned, still suffer from the past events, and perhaps hope for a parallel universe to correct things, you are living in the past.

Do you get upset when the progress you made at work isn’t what you expect to be? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about why the guy I met hasn’t called me? Do you get angry and ask yourself “how could they do that to me”? If so, you are likely living in an imaginary ideal that you created based on your own perceptions. Your thoughts outpace where things are in the reality. You are living in the future. A future self excels at work, has a good relationship, and makes peace with others.

Either living in the past or in the future doesn’t allow you to live in the moment 100%, because you are likely experiencing anxiety, frustration, and stress. Though we are human beings, influenced by our emotions, nobody can fully live in the moment 100%, we need to strive to achieve that. This will help connect your mind and body to have a “whole” self. Imagine, instead of whining about the past or being eager about future success, pull yourself out a little and have an objective mind to examine where you are in all aspects of your life. Pay attention to details and allow life to reveal itself to you. Accept all the imperfections, own all the mistakes, and take all the actions still with an open mind, knowing life could affirm you and also surprise you. Life is a journey. Life is a process. What fun do we have if we achieve all the success we want in one day? Embrace the pain and suffer as well as joy and happiness. Live in the moment.

About looking forward

It’s been over 13 months since I stayed and worked at home due to covid. Last year I initiated a 30-day covid warrior challenge in my department with a very optimistic thought that we would get back to normal in one to three months. We are still not there yet… The good news is I got vaccinated and more and more people got vaccinated. It looks promising that this fall we will get back to school with a more “normal” looking life.

Being by myself going through covid is a bit challenge when you are isolated, socially and physically. The warrior challenge helped me so much in navigating through and adapting to the covid stay-at-home lifestyle. Being an introverted and shy person, I don’t often feel lonely. However, being completely isolated from human face-to-face interactions is hard.

Given all these barriers and inconvenience that covid brought to our lives, I was able to live positively and productively. I revamped my daily habits and tracking systems. I finished reading 3 books after many years of not quite reading. I started watercolor painting, which helped me keep sane sometimes lol, and had a lot of fun. I collaborated with three groups of colleagues that I never had worked with before and submitted a federal grant, also my first time. I published 5 articles, although most of these came from the effort of previous years. I made some new friends and developed friendships more than the sum of the past 3 years. I even had a dalliance, which is sweet and inspiring.

Huh, what a surprise. Now, thinking back, I am even amazed by myself. Because I pushed my own boundaries in many ways given I have been a “social minimalist” for my entire life. Covid really makes me think about relationships with others. As a new area of learning to me, I have experienced quite some ups and downs and learning pain. Of course, I made tons of mistakes and until a while later I found them to be mistakes. I jumped the gun too often without waiting for others to respond. I felt insecure and not enough. Sometimes, I regret and criticize myself why I would make those silly mistakes but at the same time, I know this is all-natural and what you need to pay for the growth.

I read a quote a day ago by a lovely kind human being “rather than obsessing over what you could’ve done differently in the past, make a decision today to give yourself the gift of a fresh start”. I am still on the journey and not where I want to be yet. But I think it is time to look forward and have a fresh start, knowing it is the journey and I am enough. I just need to be myself and embrace what life is showing me. And I know it will be great.