More and more, I experience moments of pure contentment. These moments come from the simplest of things. Feeling a breeze swirling silently through our home. Running the trails on a gorgeous day off. Losing myself in a good book. Engaging in a conversation with my person. All of these moments, and more, are strung together to create an internal sense of peace and well-being.
I enjoyed one of those moments earlier today. As I thought of all of the good people and things in my perfectly imperfect life, I took a grateful breath and took it all in. I thought to myself, Life is good. Then, it wasn’t.
Almost as soon as this thought popped into my head, my mind decided to serve up a heaping dose of overthinking to spoil it. I began to think about all of the what ifs, none of them positive, of course. What if I have to sell my home? What if I don’t ever reach my goals and fulfill my dreams? What if something happens to my person? What if the breast cancer returns with a vengeance? What if . . . what if . . .what if. . .
Nothing happened to lead me to believe that any of these things are in the offing. Absolutely nothing. Yet, here I was letting these thoughts ricochet from one corner of my mind to the other, picking up speed and validity along the way. All of my fears share two things in common. They are based on past experiences and/or have the potential to move from a figment of my imagination to my reality. There is one other thing that they share in common.
They have not happened, and they may never happen. Since I have plenty of things that are happening in the here and now, I don’t need to future trip to occupy my time. Yet, I did.
I don’t tend to do this as often as I once did, but I still do, from time to time. This stems from being taught to prepare for the other shoe to drop, because it always does. My excellent time management and planning skills were built on a foundation of fear and an attempt to stave off the inevitable demise of whatever was going well.
There is some merit to having a contingency plan, but I have come to realize that, at times, I focus more on the contingency plan than I do the actual plan at hand. It is tough to enjoy, and live in, the moment, with a worse case scenario always waiting in the wings. It spoils the present and taints the future.
After wallowing in the what ifs for a bit, I was more than ready to come back from the future. It was emotionally exhausting, and I wanted to return to that state of contentment. So, I grounded both shoes in the present, lest either one of them have far to fall.
I flipped the script to focus on what was actually happening, rather than what may or may not happen. I also changed up the what ifs. What if none of my greatest fears ever materialize? What if my wildest dreams do come true? What if the other shoe never does drop?
I don’t know what will happen, but I do know what is happening right now. As the day comes to an end, I am back to feeling like life is good, and it has the potential to get better or worse. I choose to focus on the better, though, with both shoes laced up and ready to go after it.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story