Mindfulness and the Power of the Present

By Mac Pomeroy

Being born physically weak, my childhood was different from the usual. 

While most children like to dream and joke about growing up to be princesses or tigers or some other absurd thing, I knew I had to be realistic. Even if I couldn’t walk for longer than two minutes to save my life, my mind was sharp as a tack. I knew I had to take advantage in order to live my life to the fullest.

So I decided I wanted to become a lawyer. Instantly my life became consumed with running after my goals. By the time I was 12, I knew exactly what area of law I wanted to study and the best schools for that specific type. I had my whole path set ahead, and I didn’t want to look around at anything else.

Now, needless to say, that changed. In my senior year of high school, I realized that I would rather do anything else but sit in a courtroom all day, so any intentions I had of becoming an attorney went down the drain. It felt like I had wasted years of my life working on a goal, not even considering what was around me.

Of course, it isn’t exactly a major loss. But remembering it all made me realize it’s not uncommon that we become so focused on the future and forget the present. This doesn’t just mean intense long-term goals but rather goals in general. 

Have you ever had a test coming up and were so busy preparing that you forgot your parent’s birthday? Or planned to go out with your friends and spent so much time deciding what to do that you didn’t finish the rest of your errands?

It happens to everyone, regardless of whether we notice it. It’s a very easy pattern to fall into. Most people naturally prefer to plan and be prepared for any scheduled happenings in their lives. This isn’t exactly a problem. The problem arises when you spend too much time planning and not enough time living. 

Even now that I am on a totally different path than I was working toward as a child, I’ve fallen under this category many times. This happens both academically and personally. I mean, I am guilty of focusing on eventually getting my doctorate when I am not even done with my sophomore year of my bachelor’s degree.

There is no exact way to get over this habit. As I mentioned prior, it isn’t always a bad thing, but it can be when it causes you to neglect what is happening in the present. If this becomes the case, then it’s important to remind yourself to keep your priorities in line. 

Before fussing over anything, ask yourself: Does this matter right now? Will this be relevant to your life today or tomorrow or within the next week? Or is this something that won’t affect you for a while? Does it need your attention now? If the answer is that it won’t matter for a while, then maybe it isn’t important right now.

Living in the moment is an extremely important trait. All around you, every day, are many different experiences and opportunities. If you have your head in your schedule all the time, only focusing on what comes tomorrow, you risk missing what is happening today.

Life happens in the present.

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