One of my biggest flaws is that I tend to forget to “be present”. I try to be a person who lives for and in the “here and now”, but the truth is, I’m not very good at it. My mental space is permanently stuck between nostalgia and fear of the future. That causes me to mentally “check out” from what’s actually going on in this moment.
It’s not intentional, I promise, but sometimes the truth of the matter is that what’s going on in my head is more “engaging” than what’s happening in front of me. You could say that this is a terrible indication about my social circle, but that’s aside from the point. I mean, I have great friends: they’re energetic, humorous goofballs! It’s always a great time when the squad links up! We talk, laugh, act like fools and take all the embarrassing selfies to prove it; or we spend so much time just being together we forget to capture the moment. But somehow, I still manage retract into myself in the middle of our social engagements! This could be me just getting really quiet and detached in the midst of the excitement, or sometimes just slipping away for a second or two to catch my breath.
Some time ago, it was revealed to me that this, among many other things, could be the manifestation of my depression and anxiety disorder. One of the best ways I’ve heard depression described is “[Depression] isn’t always at 3am. Sometimes it’s at 3pm, while you’re with friends and you’re halfway through a laugh” and it could not be more accurate! I’ve literally been in the middle of a sentence in the middle of a conversation with friends, and I just mentally and emotionally shut down; sometimes I know exactly what happened and realize the trigger that may have caused it, but other times it just sweeps over me suddenly.
This past summer (as in 2016), I got to work at a traditional co-ed summer residential camp for the summer, something I’ve always wanted to do. One night, at the beginning of the summer, all the staff got together and had a nice little campfire. It was great! One of the adventure staff (who was gloriously attractive, BUT TAKEN, might I add) got the fire going; we whipped out the chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers for s’mores and someone cranked up the tunes through their bluetooth speakers! We were all chatting and having a grand time. It was was the ultimate “camp experience”; just a beautiful evening under the open sky in the fresh mountain air with some cool people…and in the middle of a rousing conversation about Game of Thrones, all I wanted to do was go somewhere secluded and BE. Now I have absolutely no idea why this might have happened but it did and I couldn’t shake it, and at that moment I had to actively remind myself to be present and attentive.
I think this is a feeling that preys on me more than ever when I’m in a situation where I am not completely comfortable or feeling accepted, so because of that I tend to become quite reclusive. But you know what? If I’ve learned anything, it’s that working through challenges like these is what builds character, and that’s something you can never have too much of. So many times we get so wrapped up in the memories of the past and contemplation on the future or whatever else is going on in our heads, we forget to be present in this very moment, and when we do that, we miss out on so many experiences that could have been great! But that’s something I don’t want to be guilty of…
So tonight, I will finish my work day and then maybe head over to meet up with a friend and maybe have a drink or something or just head home and immerse myself in a book or show or make an actual phone call, no matter how apprehensive I am, and we will laugh and be entirely too loud and make utter fools of ourselves all in good fun. Then when we’ve had enough and time has been far spent, we’ll turn in for the night. When I turn in for the night, I’ll talk to my family and text a bit and read my devotional while I get ready for bed. And when my head finally hits the pillow, I will be absolutely exhausted and utterly physically, mentally and emotionally drained and I will congratulate myself on working around my inhibitions. Then tomorrow, I will wake up in the morning, and do it all again. And no matter what tomorrow’s schedule brings, I will be here in the moment, thriving.
xoxo, from where my 7 dreams grow,