My closest friends and family know, that if they knock on my door unannounced, they may well be met with The Look; the one that reminds them pretty darn quickly, that spontaneity is not for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with people but I’m a planner. If I’ve committed to a dinner party, my mind will immediately turn to the menu. If you suggest a weekend away (with plenty of notice, obvs) I will first consult the yearly planner and then decide if it fits with my prior commitments.
Planning helps me to feel in control and on top of things. I’ve always quite liked this side of myself, it results in efficiency and people know where they stand.
What Happens When Things Don’t Quite Go to Plan?
I’m not talking about turning up on my doorstep ‘on the off chance’ (jokes aside, I could probably just about cope with that one), I’m talking about the phone call that says your child is hurt or in danger, the medical news that no one wants to hear, a knock at the door that brings shocking news nothing could prepare you for.
I imagine that every one of us has experienced a heart-stopping moment at some point in our lives. Over the past few years I’ve had numerous, so many in fact that I can no longer recall them all (probably my mind’s very clever way of protecting itself).
Not knowing what’s going to happen next can be completely debilitating for someone who naturally likes to plan. Not being able to put any dates in the diary goes against every fibre in my being and don’t even get me started on having to cancel on people last minute!
Nodding along? For us planners, throwing something unexpected into the mix causes all kinds of angst.
When Living One Day at a Time Doesn’t Come Naturally
In this day and age, living in the moment seems to be everyone’s ultimate goal. On paper it makes total sense but it’s very hard for a natural planner to simply transform a way of thinking that is so deeply engrained. Despite reading the articles and downloading the Calm app, I just couldn’t keep it up.
Until life dictated otherwise.
I never realised how far away from living in the moment I was, until I arrived here quite by accident. I’ll admit that it’s been an uncomfortable journey but I’ve slowly got used to it and there are so many benefits to living one day at a time…
5 Ways that Living in the Moment Has Changed My Life:
1. I am less stressed
With no plans in the diary, the constant nagging feeling that plans might need to change, just isn’t there. When you’re in a difficult season, no one needs extra stress, so not making plans has been helpful.
2. Every moment has become precious
I’ve found myself breathing deeply and taking a mental photograph of a moment simply because I know that it might not last. I want to drink in every last ounce of it.
3. Spontaneity is actually quite liberating
Unpredictable circumstances means that sometimes you just don’t know what you will feel like doing. I’ve learnt to ‘wait and see’ which results in much less disappointment and allows room for spontaneity. I might not be able to plan but that doesn’t mean life needs to stop altogether.
4. Other people’s opinions matter less
Living one day at a time can be frustrating for other people (especially the planners!) but I’ve learnt to let their expectations go and just do what’s right for me.
5. Living a ‘full life’ does not mean having a full diary
There really is so much value in slowing down and I can confirm that FOMO has finally been kicked to the curb.
Despite being a christian for 40 years, it only dawned on me recently that living one day at a time is a biblical principle. Most of us are familiar with the line ‘Give us today our daily bread‘ from the Lord’s prayer, but have we ever stopped to really think about what it means? It’s about asking God at the beginning of every day to provide us with exactly what we need for that 24 hours; the next day we will need to ask afresh.
In Lamentations, the bible says ‘His mercies are new every morning‘ and in Ephesians we are advised ‘not to let the sun go down on our anger‘. Why? Because none of us really know what the next day will bring.
It’s funny how life works sometimes isn’t it? We learn our greatest, most life-transforming lessons when we are down to the wire.