Looking forward to #Back2School can be fun, but one tricky thing about beginnings and fresh starts is managing the the present well.
It can be fun, easy, inspiring to plan and prepare for things to come – but if that keeps me from being grounded, present, and aware of this moment right here then what’s the point?
Plus only looking ahead or behind can be dangerous. Fantasizing what life could be or regretting what was.
So I want to take time in my #Back2School preparation to have a little talk with myself about these 2 sidetracks.
First, too much looking ahead leads to fantasy and unrealistic expectations. If my vision isn’t based on a present-minded, goals oriented, and personality-based plans, then I’m probably getting excited for nothing and setting myself up for failure (more on planning for failure later).
This is one of the reasons why I like the Bullet Journal (again, the post explaining this is coming soon!). I may be weirder than weird, but I think I may never buy a calendar driven planner again.
My brain just doesn’t work that way.
For me, too much looking ahead creates false hopes and fills days with endless good deeds. I forget how to take things step at a time, and I bite off more than I can chew – and all those other metaphors for not being realistic.
Second, looking behind can only be helpful if I’m teachable. How can I learn from my mistakes? What can I discern as contributing factors to failures in behavior, schedule, attitude, etc.?
Last year was just okay as far as planning ahead went. I did better than the year before, but I still didn’t have a good grasp on goal setting and accomplishing.
But farther back than last year, and I am a wreck when I looked back.
I need balance. Patience. Gentleness.
This interesting to me: I’m discovering that underneath my regret is impatience.
And that underneath my fear of the future is laziness.
To move forward, I accept both the impatience and laziness as challenges to overcome, and I talk gently to myself with reminding, preaching, and encouraging thoughts.
So the point of this day was to be in this day. To stay present in the ending of one thing before busily bustling into the next. I don’t think it’s good to rush things, or forget things.
Fear of endings, closure, goodbyes isn’t pacified by ignoring that it’s happening.
I want to own the endings in my life. To model how to calmly bring something to a close. To celebrate goodbyes by honoring memories, capturing moments – staying in the present.
I want to finish summer strong by completing our commitments like our summer reading programs. I went back and thought about all the things I said I was going to do, and made plans to finish them.
- Summer reading programs
- Slumber parties
- Play dates
- Discovering a (new to us) hiking trail
I want to be a finisher because the heart of my son depends on it. He remembers every word I say, every time I think out-loud and agree to try something new.
He thrives when I keep my word.
Which is why I know I need to save the talk about routines, meal times, chores, and all the changes that are but a few weeks away, and just jump in the van and drive around town handing in our completed summer reading programs – while doing little victory dances. (Victory dances look more like bench sitting and pouring over new free books.)
It’s the little things, and the sanity things.
Like not rushing to finish all the boxes of the reading chart in one week (we were that family last year, and literally handed our charts in on the very last day).
And to my surprise, the boy who wouldn’t read a fiction book when I told him he could buy whatever book he wanted – and as many as he wanted – finished his free fiction books (both!) in less than 24 hours. I’m shocked. When did he decide it was time to finish 200+ page fiction?
I guess this day was as much important for me and it was for them.
Noticing how much we’ve changed and how much we all stay the same. Respecting the seasons for growing, stretching, and deepening us.
For today, we celebrate and finish. We live into the day we have right now, not looking back or too far ahead, but staying present we are filled with gratitude for receiving such a full summer.
This post is a part of a #Back2School Series, click here for the index.
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