Putting life on pause.
What if I could put any moment of my life on pause like a video and take a closer look?
Would I do anything different?
Rewinding the tape ten years back, I click the 'Pause' button and freeze the picture. Here I am, stuck in half motion on the screen. I am standing in the kitchen after coming home from work and scrambling around to make a quick meal. My two-year-old is crying, refusing to let go of my feet. He's still not used to me being at work full-time. I sit him on the counter so that he can see me and pray that he won't reach for anything dangerous. He wants to play, and I am getting upset.
I fast forward seven years. My baby is all grown up. I am in the kitchen again rushing to make food. "Mom, I need to show you something." I tell him I'm busy, but he insists that I have to come upstairs in order to see it. Crunched for time, I shoo him away. There are so many things to do and he's slowing me down. I am too preoccupied to notice that I am missing out on something important.
Knowing when to say "no".
I try to figure out how I got so busy and end up rewinding all the way back to my childhood.
Life is simple in Ukraine. Resources are limited, just enough to cover daily needs. Few toys are treasured and played with for years. Clothes are repaired to last. TV has an hour of cartoons a day and I run outside to play with friends.
Skipping a few years, I'm now a teenager in the U.S., the land of plenty. The whole new world of possibilities is open in front of me.
Zooming forward to the young adulthood, there is so much available at my fingertips that I excel at multitasking. Cramming different activities into my already limited schedules, I pour social media on top and keep every breathing moment of my day filled up.
The more I review my life, the stronger my desire is to somehow change the script. But the past is already recorded.
Realizing the value of time.
Now I am in my late thirties and I finally understand that having too many activities in my life has become a problem. I realize there is one resources that will always be limited - TIME.
Trying to slow it down enough to even see what's going on around me is not easy. I turn around and everyone else is in the rush too.
Why am I in a hurry?
Where am I going?
What is so important about it?
It seems, I am missing out on things that are really important, things that cannot be replaced, returned, relived... all because my day is filled with something else. I can see this most acutely with my children. Never a stay-at-home mom, always on the go, I do not remember much of them growing up. I had Great Big Things to accomplish... now I feel like I robbed myself of the meaningful experiences. I missed out on little things that really mattered the most.
I will never be a child again, I will never be a teenager, I will never be a newlywed with my husband, I will never be a new mom and my kids will never be infants, toddlers, first-graders. I wish I had treasured these phases of my life a little bit more, enjoyed them more, took notice, stopped to fully take in the beauty of the moment.
But I cannot change what happened in the past. I have only one commodity that I can alter, and it's TODAY.
Knowing what is most important.
So what is the most important moment of my life?
I always looked for this moment in the future, but I discovered that this moment is NOW.
There's nothing more important than what is right in front of me this very second.
Nothing more precious than a child looking for my attention.
Nothing more urgent than the husband next to me.
Nothing more valuable than the person right in front of me.
I want to learn to treasure the current moment so that I won’t have to look back with regret, wishing I’d paid more attention.
I want to let go of what doesn’t really matter in order to fully appreciate what does.
I don’t want to fill every waking minute with stuff – whether it’s activities or information, but instead, I want to learn to be still and let experiences or knowledge sink in.
Skimming through life leads to shallowness – everything and nothing at the same time. Instead, I would rather simplify and go deeper in order to fully enjoy what I already have.
Accepting the challenge.
Today I want to invite you to join me in making every moment count. Next time your child comes to you with a request, put down your computer or your frying pan and give him or her your full attention. When your spouse or close friend wants to spend time, put everything else on hold and be present one hundred percent. When you go to work, be fully engaged with the people in front of you. Put your phone aside and look around. Be thankful and appreciate what you have every day, focusing on productivity and not business, the quality and not the quantity of your experiences. Is it possible? I say yes… if we all learn how to press the 'Pause' button.