Looking back and looking forward - musings about being in the moment

woman relaxed free

I once heard someone say:

Depression is worrying about the past and anxiety is worrying about the future.

Like most sound bites, this is mostly true and largely inaccurate.

However, it will work for my purposes.

I almost never look back.

I find it very difficult to re-read material or re-watch videos I have made in the past.

While I collect feedback on my workshops, I rarely ruminate on it. No point - the workshop is over. I add the constructive feedback to my mental list of do better next time and move on.

When something is over, finished or no longer part of my life, I don't generally pine for what was. I have my eyes set firmly on the excitement and possibility of what the future brings. I take the good memories and the precious friendships that remain and dive headfirst into the next shiny object. (I am a pretty bad friend for this reason, and if you are one of the people that I used to see regularly but I haven't been in touch with for ages I am sorry!! )

All of this is complicated by my appalling medium-term memory. I literally don't recall things from the past easily. Having no natural filing system in my mind - my memories, thoughts, actions, previous projects, people I have met, things I have written, projects I have created, are literally like a huge pile of washing on the laundry floor of my mind. To be fair I have one system - darks, whites and other shit.  

What does this all mean?

  • I will often not remember your name or recall where I met you - but rest assured I still value you.
  • If you ask me to repeat or find something that I said or taught last week I won't be able to. 

I feel big emotions yet I am unlikely to sink too deep into depression. Many of you know my story, I became overwhelmed by the enormity of the pile of washing on the laundry floor (my job) and I quit. I lay on top of the pile (literally at one point) until I yearned for a more comfortable way to spend my days. I sorted my shit, one dirty t-shirt at a time, and got on with it. No looking back.

Good news - every day is a new day. And I choose NOT to fill it with worry and anxiety.

While I often feel a stab of anxiety about the enormity of the project in front of me, I rarely get anxious about my ability to do it.

Of course, I worry about what people think - but only for a moment, and then I remind myself that what they think about me is none of my business.

I constantly catch my thoughts that are dragging me into the past with worry, or the future with anxiety, and remind myself that I need to stay in the present. Right here, right now, I am enough. No one is poking pins in my eyes and the only thing I need to do is breathe and take the next tiny step.

One dirty t-shirt at a time.

How do you stay in the moment?


Jenny bio with border

Reflecting on Unpleasant Emotions

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