Thursday, June 1, 2017

Be Here Now: 5 Ways to Stay Present

One of the most daunting things in life (for me, at least) is my quest to create a marriage between me and anyone at this point my mind and the present moment.  I often find myself lost in thought: either I'm mulling over my ex from 8th grade the past or straining to predict the future.  To put it simply: I am a motherfucking worrier.  I worry about what people think of my inability to not talk about crime shows me. I worry about never getting laid again married or having kids.  I worry about my adult acne finances.  I worry about that time I got too drunk and professed my love to an unsuspecting childhood friend - ah fuck, actually - he suspected it, let's be honest.  I worry about my family, my friends, my teeth, my mistakes, my job - I could go on and on. Recently I've become cognizant of the fact that it's all a terrific waste of time.  Almost all of the disastrous things I think are going to happen always never do.  As for the terrible things that've happened in the past? They've all become lessons - that's it...that's all they are now.  SO why can't I stop worrying?

coloring is a good way to stay present and feel like a 5-year-old in public

I was back east visiting my family over the long weekend and as I traipsed through Newark airport yesterday I began to feel uneasy.  Coming back to San Francisco after spending time at home is always difficult for me, as it's far away from a lot of people that I really, really tolerate like.  A barrage of dreadful thoughts started to swim in my head, and I felt stifled as I meandered through the throngs of people racing to their gates.

My tempestuous, nagging inner monologue ran rampant with patronizing thoughts:
"OH SHIT, you're going back to reality - do you realize how much work you have to do?  If you don't do that work and do it well then you'll get fired and you won't have any money to fall back on because GUESS WHAT, you're 34 and unmarried BECAUSE YOU STILL ONLY GO FOR ASSHOLES - do you think you'll ever be able to have kids at the rate you're going? You have to pay your rent tomorrow - oh, and don't forget about the PG&E bill. Ah, well - who knows if you'll even have to deal with all this shit, your plane might crash today. OMG YOUR PLANE IS GOING TO CRASH. What a shitty way to go out.  Oh my god, that girl over there is looking at you like you're a freak, act normal.  Smile."  

I then sat down at a random gate, took 12 deep breaths and thought to myself - how can I put a stop to this madness?  HOW CAN I BE IN THE MOMENT?   I pulled out my notebook and made a list. Here's what I came up with:

1. Look around; name your surroundings 
Forcing yourself to name different things around you jolts you out of all the "what if" scenarios wreaking havoc on your brain. I'm not a multitasker: it's impossible for me to focus on 2 things simultaneously.  If I force myself to become aware of my surroundings and devote all of my attention to a woman with a crew cut wearing a fanny pack and picking her wedgie then I stop thinking about how disastrous my upcoming Bumble date THAT HASN'T EVEN HAPPENED YET will be.  So yesterday, I began to observe what was happening around me. Here's what I noticed:

a.) Two children fighting over a bag of Chex Mix as their parents, clad in matching windbreakers struggled (and failed) to asset their authority over their snot-nosed offspring.
b.) A hipster donning skinny jeans and a wrist tattoo of a symbol that likely meant "kale".  
c.) The heinous blue carpeting blanketing the airport floor.
d.) A dim sum restaurant down the hall; which I figured was the only redeeming part of the Newark airport/Newark in general as a whole.
e.) A 20-something guy donning headphones and nodding his head to his music as he caressed his flavor-saver.  This led me to hone in and focus solely on said flavor-savor AND DEAR GUYS, PLEASE JUST STOP WITH THE FLAVOR-SAVER BULLSHIT.  
flavor savors begone! 
I also chose to focus on the fact that the outline of my uber's route yesterday was phallic.  Ahh, feels good to be 12 years old in the moment.
2.  Realize that the thing you're stressing over hasn't happened yet and likely never will. 
Striving to anticipate a future event is about as productive as trying to marry Brad Pitt.  The likelihood of your boss calling you into her office and chastising you for being late to that meeting 7 months ago and subsequently firing you, resulting in you becoming homeless, living under a bridge and contracting Hep C. is about as likely as Mike Tyson finally opting to see a speech pathologist. 

3. No one is thinking about you.
I gotten myself into some ridiculous and sometimes terrifying situations over the years that have stayed with me.  I've embarrassed and disgraced myself more times than I can count.  Whenever I mull over these things and think: will people ever forget about that?  What in the fuck was I thinking? The truth is: people forget.  People move on. People are thinking about themselves as much as you think about yourself.  Jizzy Johnny isn't staying up at night analyzing every little detail about the time you drunk dialed him 69 times back in '07.

4.  Life is shorter than your ex-boyfriend's choad
It's true.  Good God, life moves fast.  20 years ago I was a 14-year-old sneaking cigs behind the squash courts at my high school as I struggled to hide my clear braces that always turned orange whenever I drank anything other than water.  It truly infuriates me when I think of how much time I've devoted to thinking about things that aren't even real.

5. Wake up and get the f out of bed immediately
I talked to my good friend from childhood over the weekend about anxiety - something he struggles with too.  We discussed how high testosterone anxiety levels are first thing in the morning. He told me that our bodies produce a fuckload of Cortisol (the hormone that causes stress) as we sleep which can make our first waking moments particularly unsettling.  Lying in bed for a half hour can exacerbate this.  His advice: get up and do something.  So this morning I woke up in the fetal position, cold, alone and longing to be held and immediately scrolled through instagram and facebook for a good 45 mins planted my feet on the floor.  I didn't lie in bed and think of all I had to do today.  I hopped in the shower and doused myself in cold water. I got out and I realized I'd left my brush in Rhode Island and was forced to use a fork to tame my tresses (which happens way more often than it should). Talk about having to stay present: I had to meticulously brush each clump of hair in such a way that the prongs didn't stab me in my skull. What a time to be alive! 

What about you?  Are there any methods I haven't mentioned that you use to stay in the present moment?  Asking for a friend. :)

Happy Thursday numbutz!



PMS.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Great Post! Cold AM showers seem to have doubled my productivity every day. Would prefer AM ocean swims so working towards beach access.

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