Life is hard sometimes. Like when making life-altering career decisions, or when work is piling to the ceiling and everything is going wrong, or when your phone dies and you can’t use Google Maps, so you’re forced to read a street sign (ew).

So, I’ve brainstormed some ideas on how to deal with these emotions:

  • Look for answers in the stars by tweeting all of your life’s questions to Kim Kardashian.
  • Write down a list of all your recent achievements. (Here’s mine: 1. Managed to eat all the fruit in my fridge before they went moldy this week, 2. Wrote this list.)
  • Stare deeply into the eyes of a dog, follow its movements, watch it eat dinner, then feel thankful that you’re not a fucking dog.
  • Approach a stranger in the street, give them a quick description of your life, and then ask them to assess your faults and flaws and give you a rating from 1 to 10.
  • Put all of Taylor Swift’s songs into a playlist and press shuffle. Whatever song it lands on, take the advice of that song.

However, these tactics don’t always bring legitimate results. So instead, I’ve been trying to take these feelings of lostness by eliminating distractions from my life to create more time. I think part of the problem lies in that most of my life is not focused on what’s currently happening, but on what I’m going to do next.

While I’m taking a shower, I’m just thinking: Okay, don’t forget about the forms I have to fill out, and the prescription I have to drop off, and the article I have to write, and the laundry I have to wash, and the hair I have to straighten, and the more food I have to eat, and the reading I have to finish, and the dying-with-my face-down-on-a-public-sidewalk I have to do. 

But at what point am I actually going to live my life???

Whenever I sit down for a meal, I think: Okay, what am I going to watch? I have a habit of always needing to watch something while I’m eating. I get my food, open my laptop, find a TED Talk or an episode of The Office that I’ve already seen a hundred times, and I press play. It ends up taking me about 20 minutes to find something to watch, and by the time I find it, my food is already cold. Why am I doing this to myself?

Eating a meal doesn’t take more than, like, 5 minutes. As soon as I’m finished, I turn the laptop off because I don’t actually care about what I’m watching. I only care about it for as long as I’m eating. I waste 20 minutes looking for my distraction, and I leave no time to enjoy the actual eating or watching. What is the point of doing anything if all I’m doing is thinking about The Next Thing?

Everyone is always looking for more time. There are so many opportunities scattered throughout our daily lives where we have these little windows of time, but we’re too busy squandering it. For example, I reach my peak angriness when I’m driving and I reach a red light. Great, now I just have to sit here and be alive. In that moment, there’s literally nothing I can do besides breathe and be a person, so I might as well enjoy it.

If you’re like me and you’re not a Buddhist monk or someone with the patience or maturity for meditation, then think of these moments in your day as a small gift of extra time that the universe has carved out in the chaos that is your life. You can let that be a moment where all the pressure is off and you can just be alive. If we would just spend each moment reveling in what what is currently happening, we’d realize how much time we actually do have.

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