Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Making the most of Now // Musings

'Whatever you want to do, just do it now. Just do it. Make it happen. You have to. You just have to.'
- My x-ray buddy

A couple of years ago I had to have an x-ray and I remember sitting in the waiting room, completely alone, wishing to be anywhere but there. I don't know about you but I hate hospitals, for a variety of reasons, so the less time spent between hospital walls, the better.  As I tried to take my mind away from my surroundings, a man was wheeled in and directly placed next to me. He was white, around 50 years of age and looked tired. He was slouched in his wheelchair and looked like he was reluctantly fighting a battle he did not care about winning anymore. I gave him a small smile which he took as an invitation to start a conversation.  He introduced himself and I did the same. Once we moved on from polite formalities, he told me the reason of his hospital admission.

'I was diagnosed with cancer' he said matter of factly.
'I am so sorry to hear that' I replied. No matter how many times you hear a sentence like that, either from someone you know or don't know, it still hits hard every time.
'Eh, it's all the smoking apparently. Shouldn't have ever started... Stupid habit really...' he trailed off and silence fell between us.
'Do you live nearby?' I asked, trying to steer the conversation away from such a heavy topic.
'Yeah, yeah, I'm local. But I grew up in Wales. Have you ever been? Ahh it's a beautiful place' 

There was a sudden jolt of excitement in his voice as he started telling stories from his childhood and teenage years growing up in the Welsh Valleys. How quiet it was compared to the city and how beautiful the landscape was.  He talked about how breathtaking the sunrise was in the mornings, illuminating the world, and how, for miles around, there was 'nothing but greenery'. Stories about his parents and hanging out with friends kept me intrigued and words such as 'beautiful' 'simple' and 'relaxing' were often repeated. Despite there only being two of us in the small waiting room, we had enough time to swap stories and, as I had just graduated at the time, I told him some stories from Liverpool, moving away from home, studying Law, and what I had planned next.  This must have stirred more memories for him as he began to tell me about leaving the Valleys for the City, learning on the job and setting up his own home maintenance company.

'I don't regret anything you know. But if there's one thing I've learnt over the years it's that, whatever you want to do, just do it now. Just do it. Make it happen. You have to. You just have to. You never know. Just make the most of now and just do what you want.' 

Our conversation ended in silence, each of us pondering what he had just said and wondering exactly what 'just do it' and 'make the most of now' really meant.  For him, perhaps, dreams and ambitions that were sidestepped and left behind for other goals and for me, dreams and ambitions that have yet to be achieved. When you have a goal, there are only ever two outcomes - either you achieve it, or you don't and this is entirely up to you. Simple and obvious, right? But maybe that's all you really need to know in order to understand that your future is determined by your actions of today.

Although this encounter happened a couple of years ago now, I still find myself thinking back to his words.  What he said was nothing new - search for any 'inspirational and uplifting' content on the Internet and you can read articles conveying similar themes. But nothing really compared to the simple words of a stranger. (My conversations with strangers tend to range from politely listening to a gardener telling me about his three daughters to an in depth conversation with a man in my local gym about the existence of God and I tend to enjoy this.)

There's a lot to pick up on from what my x-ray buddy said but something I've spent the past couple of days thinking about is making the most of now.  How can we do this exactly? I don't have all the answers, not yet anyway, but there are a few simple things I know that will help:

Be mentally present | Put away distractions, focus on what you're doing, thinking, listening to, eating and fully engage in the present.  I remember catching an interview with girl group The Saturdays and they told the story about how they met Oprah Winfrey at an event.  Despite the fact that they were talking to Oprah Winfrey, you know, one of the most successful and powerful women in the world, she still made them feel like they were the only people in the room, giving them her full attention. I've never met Oprah myself, so I can neither confirm nor deny this claim, but how amazing is that??!

Plan adventure |  I say plan because, for most of us, spontaneous trips are just not that practical when we have commitments like Work, School or Uni. So plan your adventures, anywhere and everywhere, and get out there. No adventure is too small and no plans are too big to see through.

Write down your goals | Mood boards of any images or words to remind you of what you're working for act as both daily reminders and motivation as it can be very easy to forget and put off going for certain things.

Productivity is a great skill | Oh procrastination, how I loathe you, but yet, here you are.  I'm trying a new approach when it comes to banishing procrastination and it is simply thinking - the sooner I do all the necessary things that I don't want to do, the sooner I can get to doing all the things that I do want to do. It seems to be working so far. If you have any tips on staying productive, leave them below!

Becoming self aware | I guess this is similar to the first one, but becoming aware of your self, your emotions, feelings and thought processes is important.  This can simply be asking yourself questions such as 'how am I feeling about this? Why am I doing this? Do I even want to do this?' which can help stop you from just going along with something that you don't actually enjoy, simply because the majority of people are doing it.

How do you make the most of now?

Quite a long, rambly post today but I hope you enjoyed it. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see me cover on the blog then feel free to let me know!

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1 comment:

  1. I told myself that this year would be 'my year'. that if there was something that I wanted to do, I would just go and do eat. This included everything from expanding my writing portfolio to trying new food to travelling to new places. Nearly a month and a half into the year and I have achieved, or even made a tiny effort towards, nothing I wanted to. This is very disheartening but reading your post has given me a bit of a life to actually make an effort towards one goal today. Thanks.



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