You know for the longest time my mom has always told me, “You think way too much!” And while that may be true, I’m sorry mom it’s not something that I want to stop anytime soon (she already knew that though). I’ve said this before, I’m just like a lot of you, my mind is constantly thinking now what, what’s next, or where am I headed? There are certainly times when my own thinking will cause me to be nervous, anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry and any other emoji you can think of. Other times, though, it helps me gain clarity, peace, and a sense of excitement that I’m still moving in the right direction.
Back in May I wrote 3 short posts: Marques, Mr. Parks, and Coach Parks. Collectively, all of them were meant to signify the present as well as short-term and long-term goals. An author and public speaker whom I look up to, Kevin Elko, had the chance to speak to my high school alma matter the night before they won the AA Pennsylvania State Championship. His message to the boys was straightforward, “Be where your feet are”. Simply put, live in the present moment.
Think about how many times we do the exact opposite. On the drive home from work we pull in to the driveway and realize we don’t even remember how we got here. At the park with our kids, we might have played with them but in our head we were thinking how money is going to be tight this month, or planning a vacation that is 4 months away, or worrying about meeting the right person.
The battle between past, present, and future is like Beauty & The Beast, it’s a tale as old as time! But when it comes to your mind I believe you can break it down in to three categories: thinking, worrying, and planning. I can think, “I really would like to get that promotion next month.” I could worry, “I’m not sure if I work hard I will even be considered for this promotion.” Or I could plan and say, “Today, I'm telling my manager about my interest in the promotion. Then I want to show up to work 15 minutes early everyday with a great attitude and take on one extra project each month.”
Let’s get one thing straight; every person out there is going through things, whether we know it or not, that cause them to drift from the present. When I worked in banking we would constantly try and find customers who were going through major life changes:
- Getting married/divorced
- Having a baby
- Buying/selling a house
- Losing/starting a new job
- Saving for vacation
- Starting college
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other examples that might not be that obvious. The job you’ve been at for awhile and realize you’re no longer passionate about the work, or you’ve found out you’ll be working under a new manager. Maybe you’ve started a brand new relationship, or an unfortunate event has caused you to move back in with your parents. Regardless of your situation, whether you view it as good or bad, live in that moment but prepare yourself for what’s next by asking the question “Now What?”
My daughter is 9 years old. I’m starting to get in that comfortable spot where she is pretty self-sufficient. She dresses herself in the morning, gets her own breakfast, does her homework, etc. But I don’t look at it as a vacation and my dad-duties are all of a sudden done with. No, I continue to ask myself“Now What?” How can I become a better parent, how can I learn, and what could I be doing differently?
What bothers me is people (not just men either ladies) who care more about their Fantasy Football roster than well…anything. The close friends who talk more on Snapchat than in real life. Or couples who talk about Netflix shows every night at dinner but haven’t talked about finances, family goals, or personal struggles they might be faced with.
Let’s quit avoiding things and take action. You have gifts, talents, and abilities that are cooped up inside of you right now waiting to be dusted off and ripped open. I’m talking about ideas no one has ever thought of, experiences you’ve only dreamed of having, and making changes to your life you didn’t think were possible. Listen, and this sounds crazy, there are couples right now who think their relationship is a dumpster fire (harsh, but true). They need to ask themselves “Now What?” Maybe it’s time to get out, or maybe it’s time to give it your all. Whatever the case, a decision needs to be made!
I’ll say this, there will be peaks and valleys. Our lives look a lot like the stock market. Up, down, up, down, down, down, and back up. A specific month might look horrible, but over a 6 month, 1-year, or 5-year stretch, we just need to make sure that our arrow is always trending upward.
When it’s all said and done, just because you're thinking about your future, trying to make a plan, or even a little worried doesn’t take away your right to be where your feet are. Think about some of the situations you’re in right now, ask yourself “Now What?”, then find ways and make a plan to better those present moments.