IT'S TOUGH LIVING IN THE MOMENT

There are a lot of things which I want to say in this post and I'm quite conscious of the fact that this may end up just being a bit of a dump of ongoing thoughts and opinions which don't really fit together that well or make any sense to anyone but me. But I guess, in a way, that's why I started this blog. Because things and ideas always seem easier to combat and like they make more sense when they're written down and not just floating around my head like a Windows 94 screensaver. So, here goes.

Lately I have noticed that I find it increasingly difficult to actually live in the moment. I don't mean this in a 'grabbing life by the horns and making impulsive decisions' sort of way - I mean it in a 'why do I feel like my life is a TV show and I'm watching it from the outside' sort of way. It's like I'm seeing myself passing through each day of my life, going to work, showering, eating and doing fun things but I'm not really living any of it. I look forward to things and then I have the photos and I have the memories, but there's a big chunk missing from the middle where something which should be there just... isn't.

In the build up to big events in my life, I always feel the excitement. I plan things right down to the last detail. I've always been an over planner. I've always found writing To Do lists and doing research for upcoming events and trips to be a big part of the fun. It's what gets me excited and gives me something to look forward to. Of course, alongside this excitement is always an underlying (or sometimes overlying) layer of anxiety - because my brain often confuses the two emotions and substitutes them for each other. Which is fine. I'm learning how to stop that.

But when the event actually arrives, the excitement seems to vanish. I can't really explain this, which is weird for me, because I'm usually really good at explaining the things going on in my own head. I think for me, the reason that the build up to big events is such an exciting thing is because it's something to look forward to. A chance to look gloss over the present and look to the future with the knowledge that there are good things ahead. There are moments in front of me which are inevitably going to be better than the moment which I'm currently living, at my desk at work, cooking dinner or working my way through my regular To Do list. But what I'm slowly starting to learn is that expectation and building up things up in your head is a cruel act. Because then the exciting moment which you've spent so long looking forward to, in reality, can never live up to what you were expecting it to be. Hence, the loss of excitement and the inability to really feel anything in that moment at all.

This has been happening to me a lot recently. The constant idea in my head that nothing ever lives up to what you thought it was going to be. It leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth and a 'what's really the point in any of this?' mood in your mind. It's depressing. It's bleak. It makes the world feel like a less exciting place. And I hate that. Because I love feeling excited by life. I love making plans and having things to look forward to and feeling like I'm really making the most of my short time on this planet.

I think as millennials, with our addictions to social media and the constant competition of who has the most Instagramable life constantly playing out in our pockets, life itself feels like a contest. It's a big, bleak show of who can do the most fun things in a week, who's enjoyed themselves more, who's been on the best holiday's and who ate the most aesthetically pleasing breakfast.

But it's fake. All of this is fake. And I'm starting to realise that the second you notice that, the second everything starts to feel a little bit easier to manage. In today's social age, it has never been more important to impress other people with our social lives. But what's the point in impressing when you're not really living for yourself? When you start substituting living in the moment and enjoying life for other things, it affects your mental health more negatively than I've ever previously realised. And I'm starting to realise that now. I'm going to try to make a pact with myself to start living for myself and nobody else. And by this I don't mean that I'll be less kind or any more selfish. I just mean, I'm going to take my moments back.

For me, taking photos has always been something which I've used to rate how good my day has been. If I didn't take any photos, or the photos I took were crap, then my day was crap. That's literally the correlation that my brain makes now, without me even prompting it to. But maybe this is a trait which I need to unlearn. Taking photos is amazing. It's fun and it's an artistic release. But it shouldn't be defining my days. We're a generation of people who lie in bed at the end of the day and watch our lives back through Facebook statuses, Instagram stories, Snapchat videos and Tweets. We're becoming spectators of our own lives thanks to social media and we're allowing everyone else to be our critics. But maybe this is what's stopping us from living in the moment. It turns fun into something which can only be had in hindsight. Maybe if I take a break from sitting passively in the audience and watching my own life go by, and take a shot at being the director for a while, I'll learn to be a little happier.


8 comments :

  1. I love and appreciate your honesty and rawness with these feelings. Lauren. I too went through a similar struggle a few years ago. I was travelling the world, and got so caught up in documenting every moment and trying to make it hyper-meaningful, that I wonder how much of it I really lived? So yes, let's take back our moments! (P.S. Doing a social media detox helped me a lot with this. It really helped me put down the phone, stop scrolling the Instagram feed, and actually do amazing things and experience every little moment without feeling the need to frame it in the right way, or share it with anyone). Good luck to you! x

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    1. Thank you for reading and for your comment! I'll definitely take this on board - I'd love to try having a detox from social media. I think I need it! I'm glad to hear it helped you!x

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  2. Hi Lauren,

    Again just want to say really admire the honesty in this post.

    I get what you mean when you say planning is part of the fun because the event is part of the fun because you are planning an event that is meant to be exciting but if you don't find it exciting it does feel like a let down. What i've learnt though is that not all events are the same. Some can be a massive let down and some can be a positive.

    1 thing I just want to mention though is that there is a point to most things we do. Say for example you are planning for a big event, you are planning it for a reason. The event may not work out how you wanted but you wanted to plan it because you want it to be a success and you find planning fun. That's the point. Sometimes we live in the moment because we want to do things we enjoy and even if they events are not a success there are things we can learn to try and make them better.

    Totally get the whole things about social media. I've spoken to a few bloggers who have mentioned the dangers of comparing and I agree. It doesn't feel like a contest but lots of people are unique and it's horrible when you compare because of the impact it can have on our mental health but I think it's important to remember that everyone's situations and circumstances are different but on the other hand it may inspire someone to lead a happier life for them.

    I'm not sure if this comment has made much sense but hope it has helped you in some way.

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    1. Thank you for reading Faisal! I think you're right - I need to stop expecting every big event to be exciting and feel the same in my head. I'll definitely try to consider that.

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  3. Wow wow wow. I can relate so much. Thank you for writing this xx

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    1. I hope it's helped in some way. Thank you for reading as always Erin!xx

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  4. YES!!!!! YES!!!! YES!!!! to all of it. It's been bothering me for quite a while how my day is spent thinking about what I should be doing instead of focusing on what I am actually doing. It's usually about social media and now I feel sort of terrified about the future in case this schedule of mine doesn't change. The solution is right in front of us but it isn't easy. I hope we can find a way to tackle things in a peaceful manner instead of this hectic mental routine.

    Noor | Noor's Place

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Noor! I completely see where you're coming from. I feel like if I could just give up social media, even for a little bit, I'd feel so much less creatively stinted. We'll both figure it out, I'm sure!x

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