I can’t recall the time I last put pen to paper; I was certainly late teens/early twenties (a long time ago). Be it coincidence or otherwise, but for several months now, I’ve felt a desire to pick up my stylus (or laptop for the 21st century gal) and just let my thoughts flow. It’s fair to say, I’d forgotten about all my writing years, but having moved house twice in the past nine months, I naturally unearthed a plentiful hoard of old poems and short stories, written back in the day.
Whilst I’m happy these are safely packed away in a box in the new attic, my inner voice has been getting ever louder over recent weeks “why not read them?”, “why don’t you start writing again?”, “go on…there’s no time like the present” and it’s that well known phrase which has nagged most in my mind and the reason I’ve started to write. The phrase isn’t just about doing something today, to avoid putting it off until tomorrow, for me it has quite poignant meaning. It started me thinking about how I often allowed the present to pass me by, due to a tight schedule, a full time job, caring for children, husband, family and our home. Today’s lifestyle has us more focussed on building a successful future and looking ahead, as well taking us down memory lane, but it doesn’t permit much time for the here and now. So my question is, if there’s no time like the present, why aren’t we all taking more notice of it?
I have been guilty of missing the moment, too wrapped up in everyday stresses and strains, never opening my eyes to what’s happening around me. Eager to succeed in my job, surrounded by targets, objectives and business plans, I work to deadlines and I still often wonder where the time goes, as we approach another year end. I’ve spent time dreaming of nice holidays, house renovations, picking out a school uniform for that first special day, re-writing to do lists for weeks ahead, continuously transporting my mind somewhere else.
In the past couple of years however, I’ve started to think differently and I now see a different person when I look in the mirror, an older woman, naturally familiar but no longer the girl I once knew. Good job I’m comfortable with change and yes there’s the odd tinge of ‘wishing I could do it all over again’, but at least that means I’ve had some fun.
The scary thing is I never used to see a changing face or notice too much at all, I was always too busy to even notice my own reflection. I missed the important things that happened around me on a daily basis, I failed to acknowledge moments throughout the day or passers-by in the street. If I were to ask you where you currently spend most of your time mentally, would it be recounting those younger years, or perhaps you’re focussed on the weekend, week or year ahead and retirement plans? Alternatively, you could be living in the moment. I know where I used to be and where I now attempt to spend more of my time, since having my daughter 3 years ago. Whilst it wasn’t an easy arrival for her or for me, my outlook hasn’t changed for medical reasons; it’s changed because I became a mother and more aware of the fragility and meaning of life in that instant.
When you have children, you embark on the most incredible journey; you see life through a child’s eyes as well as a parent, both new and frightening concepts. You spend hour after hour watching this tiny person grow and develop their own unique personality and you finally understand how your parents felt, how quickly time is passing and how precious it really is. You crave to hit pause if only for a time, to drink in every single moment. From that instant, I began to observe more; appreciate more, be it the beautiful change of seasons, the development of my child and her curiosity of the world or the wonderful people around me. I’m still busier than ever, but I feel I’m living a more balanced life, one that allows me to stop, look, watch, listen, breathe and absorb those everyday moments. Whether it’s really seeing my daughters eyes light up as I collect her from nursery to appreciating that simple hug from my partner when he gets home, I no longer take things for granted or miss them like I used to. I want to cherish everything that’s good around me, not just spend life looking up and the plates I’m juggling and never see what’s actually in front of me. Yes I still recount amazing memories from my past and will continue to nurture dreams for the future, but there’s really no time like the present…