The Next Best Thing to Being On Vacation

san-gimignano

A few weeks ago, Charlotte and I returned from Italy where we celebrated our 30th anniversary. It was a great trip! The picture to the right is San Gimignano, one of our favorite places. It was a wonderful village full of much to explore and enjoy.

Now, I am back at work and settling in to the regular routines of life. After being away for vacation and a couple of weeks of study, it has taken me a few days to get adjusted. It has been overwhelming to come back and begin again. Nevertheless, it has been a good week.

So, what was it like to go on a two-week trip with my wife? It was wonderful!

You might think, “Of course it was wonderful. You guys went on a great vacation.” Okay — that is true. However, it was wonderful, in part, because my wife is very good at enjoying the moment. That began not in Italy and not on a nice vacation. Enjoying the moment began much, much earlier with normal week-to-week life.

Enjoying the moment is all about really being wherever you are and taking advantage of the moment.

  • Are you getting ice cream somewhere? Maybe they have twenty different flavors to choose from. You watch the person on the other side of the counter as she scoops the ice cream into your cone. Will you really enjoy this or will you be comparing this ice cream with something you ate somewhere else?
  • Are you taking a Saturday morning trip to a nearby town? Can you really enjoy this brief trip or do you keep thinking about what you need to do when you get home?
  • Are you listening to a concert or watching a football game? Can you really enjoy this or do you continually compare this experience with past experiences?
  • Are you having lunch with a friend? Are you really with him or her for that hour? Or, do you keep thinking about what you need to get done when you get back to the office?
  • Are you with your children in the car while you keep talking on the cellphone, checking your Facebook status, texting, checking your e-mail, etc.?

Enjoying the moment is about being fully present and engaged in whatever you are doing today. Am I like this 100% of the time? No. Yet, I have learned that I can be more fully present and engaged by simply noticing and taking in the moment that I have.

Some people experience the moment and they never fully enjoy what they are doing because they are always comparing it to a past experience. Again, suppose you spend a Saturday morning at a nearby town just exploring and seeing what the town has to offer. Then a few minutes after arriving you say, “Well, this place is okay, but it is nothing like San Antonio.” Perhaps you talk awhile about how this and that do not measure up with what you have experienced in the past. Meanwhile, the present moment passes by. Nothing ever quite measures up to the past.

Other people experience the moment and they never fully enjoy what they are doing because they are always looking to the future. “Well, this place is okay, but I can’t wait until we go to San Antonio in a few weeks.” Meanwhile, the present moment passes by. Nothing quite ever measures up to future expectations.

What about the present? Will I be fully present wherever I am today?

What about you?

Question:

How are you doing with being fully present in the moment?

Do you tend to compare with either the past or the anticipated future?

Do you ever find yourself so engaged with cell phone calls, texting, checking Twitter/Facebook accounts that you are not fully present with the person who is right in front of you?

How do you deal with this?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “The Next Best Thing to Being On Vacation

  1. Jim,

    I think you've hit on a key thought. We need to learn from our past, but not live in it. We need to prepare for the future, but not obsess over it. If we can't find a way to be happy TODAY right where we are, there's little chance of us being happy in the future.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer