It's happened many times before. I'm having a massage, I'm hanging out with a friend, I'm cuddling with a lover (or Chandler) but I can't seem to enjoy it, until I know how it'll end. It's as if knowing when it will 'end' helps me enjoy the 'now'.
Have you ever missed someone only when they are moments before leaving?
When someone is moving away, they have the biggest party.
When you know you'll break up, you have the deepest conversation.
When you have to wake up, your bed is the most comfortable.
Maybe it's the knowledge of what is going to happen that allows you to live in the moment. I always want to know what happens in a movie before watching it. It helps me to put all the scary or sad moments into perspective.
Too bad life isn't as easy as looking up movie spoilers. What you can't do is look up where you'll be in 5 years, who you'll be, who you'll love, or where you'll live.
Since I can't 'know' for sure, does this mean I won't enjoy it until it's over? I worry about that sometimes, and with my 25th birthday come-and-gone, I'm looking back at all the times I remember with my friends, and rarely any of them were planned. Sometimes life is what happens when you're busy making plans. You may not notice it, but it's true.
I think the sentiment is best captured when Andy from the Office says: 'I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've left them.'
With the knowledge that we can't know, and never will, maybe there are some things we can do to stay 'in the moment'.
1. Feel it.
- Whether you stop to the smell the roses or feel the soft fur of your dog, you're feeling something and your mind is remembering. Your boyfriends hand holding yours. Your hair being brushed behind your ear. The cold of your pillow against your tired face at night.
- Did you have plans to go grocery shopping and get to the car wash but you get a call from your friend at the beach? Prioritize the plans you've made. Sure your car could be cleaner, but that won't be what you look back on in a few years.
3. Take the smile test.
- Have you ever heard a joke and laughed until your sides hurt, but forgot what the joke was? That's because the act of smiling or laughing is what you'll remember, not what caused it. This is a shared, or solo, experience you'll look back on at some point in your life.
Here's hoping, as we dive deeper into our twenties, that we can realize; these are the good ol' days. Whether they are spent single, fat and living in a tiny apartment, when you look back, you'll remember the guys you dated, the amazing meals you ate, and the fun you had in that place you called home.
- Elizabeth George