Present Presence

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Well, it’s happened again.

Another year has gone by, proving the adage true: time moves faster with age.

According to my (beloved) hellions, growing up takes “forever.” And we’ve all been there.  We remember a time when age only served as a boundary sectioning us off from accomplishments like staying up till 8 o’clock, watching scary movies, and getting our license — and when the only way to achieve our goals was to simply to wait.

To age.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I feel like the hellions grow out of shoes overnight. They begin their school week and come home for the weekend in the same breath. They need haircuts in what seems like every time I turn around.

But, it isn’t just the boy’s lives that seem to be moving so quickly. Mine is too.

My new year resolutions have remained fairly consistent over the last few years: all aimed toward the completion of Old Souls. And yet, the bane of my existence *ahembook remains irritatingly unfinished.

I find myself asking, where the hell is all the time going?

I recently realized that this swift passage of time may partially be my fault. I am wishing time away, frittering it away, and in general, not paying attention to the time I have.

I’m easily distracted.

As it is with many working parents, to suggest I am “busy” would be an understatement. I don’t mean to say that the hellions themselves are distracting.c8b22e03af860900d35b8325a15b4ade But, the boys need help with homework. They require chauffeuring to music lessons, sports, and friend’s houses. They like being fed occasionally — roughly fifteen times a day — and usually return the favor by leaving towering piles of dishes, laundry, and Lego in their wake.

When I’m not dealing with that (or working), I’m editing Old Souls.

I manage the bulk of my daily tasks begrudgingly, consoling myself with the promise that one day when I quit my day-job to focus on writing, or I hire someone to help with the cleaning, or the kids move out, there will be magically be more time. In the throes of endless to-do lists, I’m often thinking of the million other things I should be doing, wondering whether I’m spending my time efficiently enough, and berating myself for not utilizing my time properly in the past, putting myself in the situation of having to complete whatever task I’m doing . . . now.

In all this running around, in all this doing while distracted, and planning for future success and mumbling about past failures, I’m missing opportunities to be fulfilled, and to recognize the success in the moment I am in.

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My 2018 mantra.


I live for summer heat. The beaches on Prince Edward Island are the main reason I moved here in the first place. But, to live on the island means to accept the good with the bad. And the bad? (In my my mind, anyway.) Maritime winters. I hate Maritime winters. No, I abhor them. I hibernate. I sulk. I suffer. I wish all of the gray slushy days away. And here on PEI, winter is the longest season of all. Which means effectively, I’m wishing 1/3 of my life away every year. I’m missing the opportunity to be happy.

It’s something I’ve resolved to change, which means purposefully acclimating to winter in 2018, and choosing to be comfortable in the cold by spending time outside, throwing snowballs, and going for walks, because I don’t want to wish 1/3 of my life away.


I want to THRIVE in the in the moments I’m in.


I’m going to choose to be mentally present in whatever task I’m working on. I’m going to weed out distraction. I’m going to stop, and be present in the present tense.

When I’m with the hellions, being mentally present will mean making an effort to transform time spent en route to basketball, futsal, and music, or even *shudder* while helping with homework, into quality time. Because, I want to be a witness to their lives. I want to experience their hell-raising. And when they move out one day, I want to know in my heart that I soaked up every ray of sunshine the little monsters wreaked through my house, and in my mom-van, and wherever the hell it is we’ve been.

Being mentally present means paying attention, so that while I’m writing or editing, I’m actually writing or editing, and not flitting time away doing something else that simply does. not. matter. Like watching people fall off hover boards.

What was I saying?

I’ve come to believe that when we allow ourselves to be distracted too often, we risk losing sight of our goals. We risk ours lives slipping away unnoticed by ourselves.

We’re missing the moments we have: the very lives we’re building for ourselves.

So, in 2018, I’m going to be present in the moment I am in. I’m going to pay attention the the task I’m tackling instead of thinking about the billion other things I could be working on.

I’m going to make an effort to appreciate daily life, the good and the bad.


I’m going to finish Old Souls.

And I’m going to do it by accomplishing MORE in the time I have.


A while ago, I purposefully stopped blogging, and cut back on Facebook And Twitter in an attempt to propel my Old Soul writing project to its final conclusion. A week went by without a blog post. Then two. Three months have come and gone since then, and interestingly enough, I’ve found that my Old Soul output is more consistent while I work on the blog on the sidelines.

So I’m back. Once again, I’m going to actively participate in the platform that has been so fun to build, because I love it, and because it works to actively fuel my creativity.


If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do. –Lucille Ball


All that said, Old Souls IS almost done. I’m going to be looking for beta readers sometime in March. If you’re interested in becoming a Old Soul beta reader, contact me directly at:  

Scribblesoncocktailnapkins@gmail.com


It’s been a long time since we’ve talked. I want to hear from you! What are YOUR resolutions this year? And, how do YOU stay present in the present?


 

77 thoughts on “Present Presence

  1. Your comment about setting aside Facebook was a great reminder. For a while, I was really good with only checking Facebook once a day and limiting my time on social media. It slowly pulls you back into the void. I’ve actually found that WordPress helps motivate me to write because I like to surround myself with other writers. My resolution this year is to read and write everyday – read at least 30 minutes and write anything – small goals, but realistic.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post – you’re right, time does move too quickly as you get older!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think of the present moment as the eternal moment that goes on and on and in that way, I see time as an illusion and the eternal moment as truth. Thanks for this lovely post… jc

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Being present is something, I believe, we can never stop getting better at. I am lucky to be where I am with little to be distracted from. I read, write a little and work, hang with friends and my girls. That is sure to change as the year progresses. Being present rules

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you are writing your book and I am excited to hear that you are getting close to finishing it. I’m glad you are blogging when you have time, too. Great post about new years, priorities and moving ahead, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautifully written “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon.. Love you heaps XxMom00

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so glad you’re back, Jenny. I’ve missed your posts where I smile, chuckle and nod my head in agreement with what you say. I’m doing it again right now. Glad to hear you are making progress with Old Souls but also taking the time to be with your hellions. Mine are young adults now, one has left home and the other can’t wait to follow! This year I plan to really be here when they are here. Because it is rarer and rarer for us all to be together. And those moments as a family are the most precious I have. So pet iPad will be put away and we will sit around the fireplace and talk. That’s one of my “revolutions”. I have too many others to mention here. Happy New Year to you and yours! And keep blogging, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, thank you so much for this!! My resolution is similar to yours – to stay in the present. I want so badly to be intentional about how I spend my time. Too often I find myself mindlessly scrolling through social media when I could be doing something productive. It’s not that I want to avoid social media, but I want to be sure I’m using it for a purpose and actually reading things, not just scrolling because I think I need something to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! Oh, life gets in the way! But life is life, right?

    I wrote a horrible book when I had time and now that I have great ideas… no time!

    Here’s a good bot about the passage of time: We are born in the middle of a merry go round. The world moves slowly, richly. As we get older, we move further out, step by step, faster and faster. One day, we fall off… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good luck with Old Souls! Good luck in the New Year, too! As we put more time behind us, the time in front shortens. This is why time seems to speed up as we get older. I remember being young and thinking I had all the time in the world…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What an interesting post – it kept my focus until the last (and with a lengthy post, that’s an achievement, let me tell you! 🥂)
    Loving the mantra for 2018 – I may hang from your coat-tails if you don’t mind? Actually, you’ll not even notice I’m there. I’ll just skulk around at the back, picking up your crumbs – tee hee!
    Lovely to have found you – a fellow blogger (and far more experienced than I) another who juggles throughout her day!
    Marvellous xx

    Like

  11. I prefer to write lists of goals rather than resolutions. The word ‘resolutions’ fills me with too much pressure. Having a list of goals to aim for give me more of a feeling of purpose and keep me more driven! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A wonderful goal – to be present. I think writers often live in our heads and we miss life unfolding all around us. Writing with kids and a job is almost impossible, so celebrate that you’ve come as far as you have. I hope you finish Old Souls, but wish you the best of luck in enjoying your moments. Happy New Year. 🙂

    Like

  13. Oh my God, when did you take up residence in my head?! Minus, the hellions, our lives (or at least our outlook on chasing time) are similar. Consistent writing is one of the hardest things for me. I’m in three different cities in one day and traveling all over. And don’t get me wrong, I love my job as a Flight Attendant but by the time I make it to the hotel on some days, I just want sleep and relaxation. I find that, like you, whatever I’m doing, I’m always beating myself up about not doing something else. This year, I want to accept the reality of sacrifice. It’s simple- some days I’ll get no sleep. In the grand scheme, I know it’ll be worth it. I want to start working on my book, “90 Days of Reign.” I started earlier this year but had no idea what I was doing and I got scared away by the process. My other two resolutions are to get out of God’s way in my life and take more risks! Thanks for this post and congratulations on the near completion of, “Old Souls.” I look forward to reading it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I find that, like you, whatever I’m doing, I’m always beating myself up about not doing something else.”
      –It’s a real issue, isn’t it?

      Sounds like your days are jammed packed. But, the title of your book is terrific! I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. All the best with your writing this year.

      Like

  14. This is a lovely post. I, too, am trying to “find time” to complete a book. I’ve decided to find a way to get it done this year. If busyness is an asset, then I should have it made! I wish you the best of luck with your book. As an aside, your blog is beautifully written and visually attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This really resonates, I’ve been thinking that this has to be my goal for this year too! With many irons in the fire, I need to be present to have any chance of achieving my goals. I enjoyed reading this post and it has helped me focus.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love your blog and I am totally jealous that you got 50 comments on a single blog post.

    I also don’t understand why I used to get an email when you posted but I don’t anymore so I’m unsubscribing and resubscribing to see if that helps. But feel free to message me whenever you have a new blog post. I’m nice that way.

    I also admire your honesty about just about every damn thing, even when it bothers me, but that’s another matter… a post like this is a declaration of war against wasting time, and we all do that, so we all rally to your effort – and then slowly dissipate after a while. Well not me. I heard March and by god I’m holding you to it. I’m not sure HOW but that’s not important. March. That’s SOON.

    Let me know how I can help, even if it means staying away. (Not unsubscribing because I already explained that – but oh, I guess really it could be that, too. And don’t take a lot of time to reply because that’s writing time. Okay I’ve rambled enough.)

    Welcome back.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Excellent when I see your LIKE. Being present. That is the trick of gaining age…and allegedly wisdom. For what simple worth (or comfort) it may bring to your door, I am resolved to empty my daily life of that which doesn’t enhance it. Sounds simple enough if it weren’t for all the distractions (ha!). Thank you for letting me see you. Regards from one old soul in Chicago.
    Dan

    Like

  18. by the way? If i may say so? (and sorry if i am ignorant) the way you write? well, am waiting for your book. very descriptive, very real. makes me want to read you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Feliz año nuevo from España! Staying present in the moment takes intention and commitment to accomplish. It’s knowing that you do actually have the power to switch off from your distractions. Maybe that sort of mental discipline comes easier to some than to others, but we can all achieve it to varying degrees! The warm-fuzzies you get from social media interactions can become a real tempting distraction for sure. So, like you, I suspended all my accounts while homing in on the completion of my novel. Sometimes you just gotta do it. If I ever discover the secret to DIY time-warping, I’ll share it with you! Best of luck with finishing Old Souls, I’m loving that title ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  20. As Neil Gaiman has said (and he’s much more an authority than me), you have to finish things. That’s what you learn from. You learn from finishing. So finish Old Souls. You can do it. And then you’ll get to edit and finish it again! Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. How fortunate our paths crossed as you return here, and I began my 40 Days of Focus, sans Facebook. A lot in this post rings true, especially the frittering. I’m making progress on my memoir, but sometimes I feel like I’m treading water while climbing a Stairmaster.

    Liked by 2 people

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