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Old 06-30-10, 09:38 AM   #1
SonataInFSharp
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How to Appreciate the Moment?

I am thinking of this on the surface; nothing mysteriously deep here.

Basically, I have developed this problem where I can't appreciate what I am doing at the moment because I am too busy thinking about what is coming next. For example:

When I am at work, I think about the drive home.
When I am driving home, I rush because I think about getting dinner going and eating.
When I am making dinner, I take shortcuts and make less stuff beause am thinking about eating it.
When I am eating dinner, I eat quickly because I am thinking about cleaning it up.
When I am cleaning up, I think about playing with the kid.
When I am playing with the kid, I am not enjoying it because I am thinking about putting him to bed.
When I am putting him to bed, I am thinking of all the other things I want to do but I don't have time for.
When I am finally getting a chance to do Activity #1, I am not enjoying it because I am thinking about doing Activities 2, 3, & 4 later, but I know I am not going to get to them.
I get to bed and can't sleep because I am planning every 15-minute block of my next day.
Repeat next day, every day, for the past couple months.

Actually, I take back what I said about not thinking about this deeply. Maybe it's not so simple as slowing down and enjoying the moment because there are deeper issues at work here. For example, my wife fills our days after work with so much stuff taht she wants to do that I don't have time to relax. And we are at this weird part of our relationship where I feel like I need to clear everything with her before I do it--I realized the other day that I even ask her if it is okay with her if I go to the bathroom because I don't want to interefere with her plans for us for that moment... YIKES!!! I think I just opened a can of worms with myself here...!!

In other words, I am not enjoying the moment because I am always trying to escape it...
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Old 06-30-10, 10:11 AM   #2
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The past is the past, but that does not seem to be your problem here. The future is the future and you can do little to control it. The only thing you can control is you. You really need to examine the WHY you are acting like you act. Is it resentment for the "busy" schedule. Where does your validation lie? Is it within you or is it rooted in the acceptance or approval of others, etc?

If you feel that you do not have any "me" time, then carve some out. As long as the other things are getting done, there is nothing wrong with this.

Only when you are at peace with yourself and those around you, will you find rest.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:34 AM   #3
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I used to be the same way. Then I started drinking wine. No seriously. When I started paying attention to what I was drinking, I found that I needed to really slow down to appreciate the nuances of what I was drinking. I had to look at it, smell it, taste it, think about it. I started carrying this through the rest of my life, and found myself slowing down a bit and enjoying life a lot more.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:43 AM   #4
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my family is known for taking so many pictures that one sibling noted: "our family doesn't live life, we re-live it!"
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Old 06-30-10, 10:49 AM   #5
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my family is known for taking so many pictures that one sibling noted: "our family doesn't live life, we re-live it!"
Ha, this is how my wife is, too. We take no fewer than 850 pictures a week. I am not kidding. I sort through them on the camera/laptop Monday evenings and there are always around 850 photos in the folder each time (this week there were only 564 photos, but it was a slow week). I told my wife that I would like to live life "live" instead of through the lens of the camera and she got really upset. The kicker? The only person who ever sees the photos is me as I sort them. My wife doesn't really care to look through them after they are taken. Heck, we took 46 rolls of film (36 exp) on our honeymoon that wasn't even a week long. That's 1656 photos in under a week. At least we are only taking half that nowadays.

Oh, yeah, and the kid is two and we have 46 HOURS of home video after editing, and I toss out about 3/4 of the video. We used 32 one-hour tapes by the time he was 9 months old. My wife wanted me to keep it all. Heh.

She wants all the photos and video, but wants ME to take them. Hmmmm...

Okay, back on topic here...
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Old 06-30-10, 10:54 AM   #6
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recently had to do a 4 min slide show for my 13 yr old daughter. I used a couple video clips too. hardest thing I ever did. I so dislike editing and everytime I thought I was done I found another amazing picture. the project took a couple months. fortunately it got a standing ovation ... whew
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Old 06-30-10, 11:31 AM   #7
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I think there's a relationship between the lack of enjoyment, and all the picture-taking. Evidently, there's some point in the future in your spouse's mind (and possibly yours too), where you finally get to kick back and take things in. I think it's worth the two of you exploring just when that time is going to be. I don't think "after the kids are grown and moved out" is a realistic, or satisfying answer. You need to allow yourself time for this all along the journey. Otherwise, you may find you never get there.
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Old 06-30-10, 12:00 PM   #8
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I think there's a relationship between the lack of enjoyment, and all the picture-taking. .
I absolutely agree. When you are "behind the lens" you are out of the experience. I use my camera to disengage from family gatherings. If you want to be involved, get rid of the camera (or give it to your wife!).
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Old 06-30-10, 12:28 PM   #9
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I am thinking of this on the surface; nothing mysteriously deep here.
Exactly.
Just consider every daily task to be as important as the next. Focus on what you are doing now. If it is a mundane task, like cleaning, then think about nothing. When you can learn to think about nothing you can then choose what to think about and when. It's what I love about long bike rides. I can see an amazing world sail by and think about nothing, save for feeling of the pedals under my feet.
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Old 06-30-10, 01:51 PM   #10
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OP - take a vacation where there is nothing to do or to plan. Practice doing whatever it is you're doing at the moment. fishing is an excellent way to do this. star gaze. stare into a campfire.

you obviously have to re-boot and calm down. if you can't vacation, trim things out of your schedule for a few weeks. If you don't HAVE to do something, don't, and outside work, schedule only ONE thing per day to immerse yourself in and enjoy.... even if it's just cooking dinner, slow down, make something that requires some won-ton therapy & do it with your kid & have fun! like, make ravioli from scratch with your kid - even if it doesn't taste good, it will be quality relaxing time.
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Old 06-30-10, 02:53 PM   #11
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You need to learn to concentrate.
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Old 06-30-10, 03:16 PM   #12
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Go to the shelter and get a dog. Block out a time to ride every day (commuting is a sure way). The world will not be much affected if you spend an hour every day walking the dog or riding the bike, and not thinking about anything else. And, when you know you will get that time every day, it's easier to deal with all the other b.s.
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Old 06-30-10, 03:29 PM   #13
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You need to learn to concentrate.

Orange you the clever one with all your cool comments? ;-)
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 06-30-10, 04:58 PM   #14
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Spend a little time in meditation. Focus on your breathing and gently say 'in' on the inhale and 'out' on the exhale.

Your mind will wander. When it does - gently bring it back to your breath. 'In' on the inhale and 'out' on the exhale.

Start with 5 minutes. If your mind wanders gently bring it back to your breath. When five minutes are up you're done.

After you feel that you are able to stay with your breath for most of the 5 minutes then take it to 10. Then to 20. Then to 30.

You will never be perfect with this. Your mind will always wander. When it does gentle bring it back to 'in' on the inhale and 'out' on the exhale.

Eventually you'll be able to stay with your breath for most of the 30 minute period.

And, trust me on this, you'll start to recognize that you're ability to focus on the moment when you're not meditating will improve.
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Old 06-30-10, 05:00 PM   #15
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I wonder this as well, sometimes. But, at least to me, it's not that simple. I have a horrid memory. Photographs tend to supplement, or even replace memories.

Also I find that having a camera can help me slow down and enjoy things. If, say, I go to a car show without a camera, I might walk down the rows, casually glancing at things. But with a camera, I'm more likely to stop at the interesting vehicles, take them in as a whole, then take them in as details, looking for an interesting angle. If I'm on a road trip, I may drive right through scenic areas, whereas with a camera, I'm more likely to stop and take things in.
That's an entirely different sort of photography from: "This is Natalie getting dressed for her play-date"; "Natalie is answering the door"; "Natalie standing next to her friend at 2:14pm on Wed, June 30, 2010"; "Here's the family outside the restaurant our friend recommended"; "Here's our waiter"; "Here's what we ordered"...

(I made up Natalie for illustrative purposes)
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Old 06-30-10, 08:29 PM   #16
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There is a practice known as being mindful and intentional. It will help you focus on the now and enjoy it. Imagine that you are going to die soon and you have just one strawberry to eat before you die. Imagine feeling the lumpy texture of the strawberry as you pick it up and roll it between your fingers. You squeeze it lightly and feel its soft surface give, but just a little... ahh... perfectly ripe! You grasp the stem at the end and aim it towards your mouth, feeling the anticipation at the back of your tongue.

As you close your mouth on it, you feel the little furry hairs brush your lips ever so slightly. The seeds lightly prickling your tongue. Your teeth digs in and you feel a rush of tart, juicy sweetness explode in your mouth... Ahhh.... such a delicious mouthful unlike any other strawberry you've ever tasted. You slowly grind it between your teeth, feeling the crispy seeds disappearing into the mash. Bite after bite you savour the time you have left with the strawberry...
... and then you die.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:19 PM   #17
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this works with peanut M&M's too.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:29 PM   #18
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I appreciate the moment when it's a beautiful day out -- and I sit outside on my doorstep and inhale deeply the wonderful smells and totally enjoy being back out on my own and not having to live with a roommate who basically self combusted and also knowing the fact that I have accomplished a lot these last few years on curing some bad debts and so I can breathe far easier. Yep - I appreciate these moments.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:34 PM   #19
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Lock up all the electronics, turn off the internet and TV for a couple of weeks, and slooooow down.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:01 PM   #20
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I appreciate the moment when it's a beautiful day out -- and I sit outside on my doorstep and inhale deeply the wonderful smells...
I'm trying to form a proper visual here. Is this the front, or the back?
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Old 07-01-10, 03:55 AM   #21
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And we are at this weird part of our relationship where I feel like I need to clear everything with her before I do it--I realized the other day that I even ask her if it is okay with her if I go to the bathroom because I don't want to interefere with her plans for us for that moment... YIKES!!!
Dude. First, wtf do you do if she says no?

Second, sounds like you got some deeper issues than just needing to slow down. Your wife seems to have you in cruise director mode. Talk to her instead of posting here about it.
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Old 07-01-10, 05:52 AM   #22
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Dude. First, wtf do you do if she says no?

Second, sounds like you got some deeper issues than just needing to slow down. Your wife seems to have you in cruise director mode. Talk to her instead of posting here about it.
Don't know how I didn't notice this earlier. Big red flag here. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership - not one spouse subsuming their will to the other. That might work short-term, but not indefinitely. It's possible that your wife doesn't even realize you feel this way. You definitely need to talk to her, possibly a counselor after that. You could try what has worked for me over 25 years (note that I can't guarantee your results) - a passive campaign of selective resistance.
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Old 07-01-10, 07:25 AM   #23
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Memories are for the past. Plans are for the future. Life is for the moment.
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Old 07-01-10, 07:36 AM   #24
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Wow. You need to:

#1 Tell your wife no (and possibly get her into some counseling to get over this obsession of hers)
#2 Put the camera down or hand it to your wife
#3 Realize that there are 3 things that are truly important in your life...you, your wife and your child...the other stuff is just stuff
#4 Start taking time to take care of yourself...happy parents make happy children...happy husband can make wife happy...
#5 Plan some time away from all the craziness with your family and "forget" the camera
#6 Take some time to reconnect with your wife
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Old 07-01-10, 09:40 AM   #25
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Is there a way you can take some time for yourself on a regular basis to be free of all distractions? This would be phone, Internet, work, etc. Maybe it would help to have some true peace and quiet to completely allow your thoughts to roam at will. Maybe take up yoga or something? Also, I've noticed that writing down my thoughts, concerns, etc is a great way for me to physically move on from them.
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