Present Moment, Only Moment.

Being a present-moment kind of girl has never been one of my strengths.

On the positive side of things, I’m an ambitious, achievement-focused kind of person.

On the negative, I worry a lot about things that don’t need to clog up today.

Sometimes this means you’ll catch see me gazing out the window on car drives, ignoring my car mates, miles away from where I’m actually at — stewing on what should happen in the next three years.

Other times, that means sitting at Andy’s dining room table in beautiful Oregon, worrying about what next Tuesday will be like when I’m back home in Atlanta.

Both are unnecessary.

Am I right?!

Today is point A and I’m always battling the desire to know about point C. What about what’s after the next thing?

I’ll be honest though; while it’s helped me accomplish a lot, that phrase about “depressed people are living in the past and anxious people living in the future?” I’ve had my fair dealings with anxiety.

A great accomplishment over the past two years has been that — I’ve let a lot go. I’ve found balance in being in the moment and anticipating what comes next.

And a lot of that came from realizing how little control you can have in life. Realizing that sometimes the best things are unplanned.

For me that’s meant finding a new everyday life rhythm.

I’m content in my job and while I want to grow and move up the chain; my todays are focused on doing my tasks better than yesterday; learning something new every opportunity and finding ways to set myself apart.

In my personal life I’ve found a lot of peace in strengthening my faith. i don’t control the overall tide of life myself; but I can trust in the one who does. And I can have good faith that if I’m focused on today; tomorrow is going to come together.

How many times have I written about this? A lot.

The reason I write about it today is because one of the best ways to STOP worrying about the future is to acknowledge your worry. Realize that it’s pointless. Find the motivation of what’s REALLY getting to you. Make a plan, if you can, for how to absolve that. And then redirect your focus positively in the moment. 

And sometimes writing about it is the best way.

Being in a long-distance relationship has affected my ability to not worry about the future in polar opposite ways.

When Andy and I are together, it’s almost paralyzing how much I want to worry about fixing this long-distance 3,000 mile issue immediately. Then in other ways, it’s so much more complicated than a quick fix — that I realize i only need to focus on the way his hair smells. What his shirt feels like when I hug him. How nice it is to go to the store together. The crunch of his steps next to mine when we take a hike. How the intonation of his voice changes at different times of day. Or how when he gets really sleepy he starts twitching. Those are nice things people who see each other everyday appreciate also; but for us when we’re together–they’re intensely meaningful.

This time last year when I visited Seattle for the first time and Andy and I were embarking on our first stint apart; I experienced for the first time “present worry.” I was in the moment — experiencing Seattle and precious time with him. But I was worrying about when the present would end. Worrying about having to get on a plane and say “see you later.”

We had brought burritos up to his favorite park in Queen Anne to look out at the Space Needle and under the bench we shared was a simple plaque that said:

“Present Moment, Only Moment.”

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Maybe to you, it’s kind of a “duh.”

But in THAT moment. I thought “I’m such an idiot. I need to just look around. I need to just give him a hug. I need to just be here.”

Ever since Andy and I saw that plaque it’s been a way of living when we have these stolen days together.

It’s a mantra when I get sad thinking about missing him–and he’s sitting next to me. It’s a meditation when I’m tempted to daydream about the “what ifs.”

As a result of HAVING to stay in the moment I’ve come up with my own list of ways to control yourself when you get all worked up about controlling life:

  • Take in the five senses of right this second. What do I smell? How does that fabric feel? Have I ever seen the light fall like that? Isolate the sounds floating through the room.
  • Keep my phone tucked away as much as possible.
  • Abolish a schedule and instead focus on overall task priorities for the day.
  • Actively acknowledge a desire to think about the future or worry // and deny it. “No, we’re right here right now.”
  • Start your day with a prayer. Give away those worries at the start so that your day can stay clean. (This is my favorite.)
  • Create conversations. Mull over the best questions. Put your heart into it.
  • Distract yourself with something new happening TODAY. See something for the first time. Find a new route to take. Try a fresh recipe. Stop by that bar that always catches your eye.

2013, you’re halfway gone.

And with the end of June, we’re officially (months-wise) halfway through 2013. It’s pretty wild to take a tally of the first six months and see all of the adventures and stories I’ve collected this year.

From making my first travels out West to exploring Canada with Sarah.

Running. Running. And more running.

Wild new projects, clients and tasks with work.

Unexpected new friendships and relationships. Both their starts and their finishes.

Explorations with little brother. And big life moments crossed off the list. (high school graduations and half marathons.)

2013 has been, to date, as wide-eyed, open-armed and headfirst as I have wanted it to be. I have taken the chances that seemed appropriate. I have had a lot of faith. And I have felt as much alive as I have in a long time. So, this is what living is like?

But there are still six months left. And like with any client on an annual budget; halfway through you have to take stakes in––have we gotten where we hoped to at this point? Are we on track to finish and, at the minimum, meet objective?

January through June? Check. Satisfied.

June through December?

Well, according to the 25 by 25 there still needs to be a broadway show, some personal acting, some education, volunteering, learning about firearms, be published AND write a book proposal. And that’s just by October : ). Crazy remainder list, by the way.

2013 was admittedly going to be a year of change and growth; and looking back on the first six months I cannot believe how accurate my predictions have been.

The most immediate prediction list for the remainder of the year? How about just this third quarter?

– Swallow my pride and see a specialist about my leg. I need to get back to running as soon as humanly possible without forever cursing myself with an injury. (You guys, I had a dream I was running last night.)

– Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney concerts with Brooke through the rest of the summer.

– Family time over the 4th of July holiday.

– Prepping a little brother for college.

– Planning a trip to Atlanta for time with best friends (including the Braves, duh).

– Getting creative with saving money. Let’s see how many dinner parties I can have instead of going out . . .

– Busting out some 25 by 25s, stat.

Next check in will practically be my 25th birthday. Don’t mind me while I go have a freak out over how quickly this year is passing.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Half Birthday; But a Lot of 25s Left to Do.

Number 8, take a trip with brother, is officially done. This past weekend the two of us went to Charleston and also tackled number 5 to break out my should-have-been-used-by-now tent. 25 by 25s getting checked off all just in time for the half-way mark today; my half birthday (not something I celebrate, PS).

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In the things that were my favorite of the three days, not to be missed are:

– An abundance of Chacos weather,

– Campfires,

– Road trips with bad food,

– Sleeping bag conversations,

– Wandering downtown Charleston and Fort Sumter/Moultrie,

– Running one of the most fun races I have ever been a part of.

The Cooper River Bridge run was incredible. 40,000 people is astounding. And running in the midst of that many people? Overwhelming. But the adrenaline seriously carried me through at least half of the race. Then I just purely enjoyed the back half. My pace was actually a little slower than I felt capable of but because of the people and I had never raced that far I kind of cruised a bit. Still finished in under 53 minutes; so I was quite happy.

Overall, this weekend was awesome. Now I’m just sad that it’s over. I guess now I can shift focus to Nashville. Cue butterflies.

Six months to go and 14 to-dos remain, some scheduled, some ongoing and some that I need to make a move on. Need to start making some more plans for books, education, acting, shooting, publishing and traveling – ha.

What Remains:

  1. Learn to play guitar. In progress.
  2. Get a stamp in my way-too-empty passport. Canada in January…but no stamp, so not 100 percent done.
  3. Write a book proposal.
  4. Run a half marathon. April 27, 2013
  5. Volunteer time somewhere that really counts. Find a non-profit to dedicate passion.
  6. Re-immerse in the arts: read more, listen to bands I’ve never heard of. Ongoing.
  7. Continue my education. Enroll in a class or make a point to find non-traditional ways to keep challenging myself and growing.
  8. When you see family members are calling, answer it. When you see long-distance friends are calling your phone, answer it. When you don’t want to call, don’t underestimate the power of sending the unexpected letter. Ongoing.
  9. Be outrageously spontaneous at least once. Want to watch a sunrise on the coast? Go. Want to see that band that only plays on weeknights at a hole-in-the-wall in New York? Make it happen.
  10. Try for other acting experience.
  11. Learn how to handle a firearm. Okay, and maybe shoot one too.
  12. Be published in a news forum that I haven’t been published in before.
  13. Be vulnerable. It’s OK to tell people how I feel every so often. In fact, I should tell some people every single day.
  14. See a play on Broadway.