I am the person who considers the road not taken. I look backwards evaluating decisions. Was it the right choice? Should I have taken a different path? What would my life look like if I would have chosen option B instead of option A? I do this with small things as well. I will purchase an appliance yet spend the next two weeks scouring ads to make sure that I got a good deal. The purpose is to ensure that I made the right choice.
This mentality also creeps into present moments. In order to avoid future regrets I strive to pack life with as much as possible. Vacations are oftentimes the epitome of this. Trips are meant to discover, explore and do new things. Rest is something that can be enjoyed at home. Now is the time to do stuff we have never done before. Genuinely, I enjoy doing new things. However, part of the motivation is to make sure that I can look back at life and say, “no regrets.” Yes, it seems a bit manic. Welcome to the inside of my head.
As I reflect on this life approach, I realize that it does in fact suck joy out of the present moment. I can sit here thinking back on a vacation or life experience and feel quite content. However, the planning and striving towards a regret-free life also robs me of joyous, spontaneous experiences in the here and now.
Years ago we had a sign made that stood above one of our doors exiting the house. It read, “Discover the Day.” This statement was a reminder to us that each day is a gift. New adventures await us each and every day. Life is to be lived in the moment not the past or future. Honestly, there were weeks where the sign simply became a decorative placard on our wall. Yet, it should be more than that – it should be a reminder of how to look at life today. So, I stand today reflecting on how to discover this moment in light of my carpe diem mentality.
- View each day as an opportunity. How sad is it to approach a day as something to survive? Yet, this is oftentimes what happens. God, help me get through today so that I can get to the weekend. A difference scenario is possible: a day filled with sharing kindness with another person, celebrating the grace of God in our lives, seeing a child compete in a sport, or enjoying laughter with a family member.
- Don’t waste it on trivial matters. Oh, it is so easy to flit your day away by surfing through nonsense, binge watching some forgettable program, or getting wound up over some stranger who ticks you off. It is not worth it. Enjoy something or someone that matters.
- Yes, life sucks at times. Move on. There are days where there is very little to laugh about. In those moments, you want to reboot the day or fast forward it. Experience the pain. Grab hold of the most important people in your life who walk through it with you. See the lasting blessings. Then, move on to the next day’s discovery lest we find ourselves in a cycle of depression. Been there. Done that.
- Throw off anxiety. Worry gives me nothing.
- Embrace the mundane but make it more than mundane. Life a series of routine events. Dinner every day. Exercise is necessary. Emails have to be checked. Yet, why does it have to be mundane? Dinner can be about relationships. Exercise is a chance to rejuvenate oneself. Emails are an opportunity for godly influence. The mundane does not have to be mundane. It can be an adventure.
Ok, this is the start of my list. What is yours? Discover the day is not a new motto. Christ stated he came to give us life and life abundantly. Today life can be abundant.