Begin of this week, my Instagram account showed me a post from last year: I stood in front of the Museum of Science Prince Felipe in the so-called City of Science and Arts (CAC)in Valencia. It´s a modern complex of buildings designed by star architect Santiago Calatrava. You are in the middle of glass and steel, but a five-minute bike ride later, you are at the beach, settling you gaze on the horizon or if you cycle the other direction, you will end up in the ancient town center of Valencia with its buzzing Cafés and variety of different food.
I was there with my sister, just the two of us, leaving kids, husband and all obligations behind and fully explore the moment. 6 months later, the Corona virus had found its way to Europe and now, another half year later, it’s still part of our day-to-day business.
What can change in the course of a year?
I´ve recently read the book “Life is too short for later: Imagine you only have one year left – a self-experiment that will improve your life” from Alexandra Reinwarth (German title “Das Leben ist zu kurz für später: Stell dir vor, du hast nur noch ein Jahr – ein Selbstversuch, der dein Leben verbessern wird”). The author is pretending, she has only one year left to live. She´s trying to make all her daily choices based on this assumption. She´s even designing her own obituary notice, frightening her family to death. It´s a funny book, easy to read, but the overall message is profound: there are a lot of things in our daily routine, which seem so important and “business critical”, but at the end of the day, there are only a few things, which really count: Love, Friendship and living a purposeful life according to OUR OWN IDEAS about life.
Imagine, you have only one year to live
What decision would you make about your day-to-day life? How would you treat others? Which things would you want to see, which goals to accomplish, which choices would you make? How important are the problems your dealing with right now REALLY?
To me, looking back at my travel pictures, I realized once more how much can change in the course of a year. Whereas last year, it was a question of organization (work, school, kids) and maybe money (can I afford to go on a holiday and how much money will I spend?) it is now a question of security and regulations. Is it safe to travel to another place right now? Are we allowed to travel or am I in a risk area with special travel regulations? Will I go to a risk area and have to follow restrictions after coming back home?
Corona has not only changed our range of mobility, but also our way of thinking.
I´m sure, you agree that your day-to-day business looks different than a year ago. We are making different decisions, setting other priorities and spend more time at home.
Yesterday, I read a news entry about Lauren Griffiths, a working mom, who had updated her LinkedIn profile with a new picture. It showed her in her natural way: unbrushed hair, open smile, no filter, no roshambo. As so many of us, she and her husband are working in home office since months and simultaneously home schooling their three kids. Her new picture showed her in an authentical way, and it presented the way life is right now: home-concentrated, without fancy blazers and important one-on-one business meetings. This post has gotten viral as it resonates with so many of us.
Life has found a new center.
Why is it so important to not postpone things to later and live in the present moment instead?
Eckart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of many books, describes in his bestselling book “The power of Now”, that only in the present moment we can find long lasting peace and happiness. In fact, this is the only moment we really have, as the past moment is gone, and the future has not yet arrived. If we always wait for a better time, better circumstances or whatever wait may stop us, we spend most of our lives waiting. If I had waited to realize the trip to Valencia with my sister, Corona would have stopped us from going. If I hadn´t set myself down in front of my computer today to write this article, you would look at a blank page right now.
We don´t need to pretend, that we are dying in a year from now, to make the decision to live life more consciously. We just have to start acting. Call the friend, you always meant to call but couldn´t find the time. Read the book, which is on top of the shelves of “must-reads” but has to subordinate itself to the daily TV program. Write the letter, paint the canvas – I´m sure there are hundreds of things you have on your bucket list, designated to accomplish later.
According to Tolle, it is as easy as to
„Surrender to the present moment, where problems do not exist. It is here we find our joy, are able to embrace our true selves and discover that we are already complete and perfect. If we are able to be fully present and take each step in the Now we will be opening ourselves to the transforming experience of The Power of Now.“
Alexandra Reinwarth starts her book with the following sentence: „One day after the day of my death I wake up in the morning and I am happy.” She realizes that she is still alive, even though her day of death had been yesterday. She has one more day to live and then another and another. She still has time to play with her kid, cuddle it and spend precious time with it. She has time to have deep conversations with her partner, about her relationship and about life itself. She has time to start all the projects, she always had in her mind. She knows, that she has to start now.
So, can you. Start consciously spending time with your family now – without sending an email, washing the dishes and listening to your kid’s school adventures simultaneously. Try to be more present in ANY moment. Fulfilling one task at a time.
But first start to realize that life is too short for later – we have to act NOW to make the best out of it!
“We all have two lives. The second one begins when we realize we only have one.”