When was the last time you experienced something for the first time?
Do you remember the moment? Can you close your eyes and picture every single thing? What you see. What you hear. What you were wearing. Where you were.
If you’re like the majority of us, you probably had a hard time answering most—if not all—of those questions, especially the first one. Sure, it’s easier for us to remember some things better than others (I’m a lot more likely to remember the first time I brought home a puppy than the first time I tried tofu), but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t value every “first” you have.
Life moves fast
If it doesn’t totally astonish you that 2018 is almost over, then I applaud you. It seems like each year goes by faster than the one before it. Before you know it, days become weeks, weeks become months, months become years and years become decades. (I’m still shocked that Mean Girls came out over a decade ago.)
My point is: life moves fast. Faster than you could have ever expected. Your days become routine, and you find yourself always longing for the next big event (or even the next weekend). But, in those moments of longing for what’s next, we forget to cherish what’s happening right in front of us. We don’t acknowledge those “firsts.”
Take having a child for example (I was going to say getting a dog, but I’m trying to limit my obsessive dog mom-ness). There are so many firsts—from the moment a woman becomes pregnant—that happen:
- The first time she starts to show.
- The first time she hears the baby’s heartbeat.
- The first time she feels little baby kicks.
- The first time she gets kicked in the bladder.
- The first time she hears the baby cry.
- The first time she changes a diaper.
- The first time she gets puked on.
- The first time the baby opens its eyes.
- The first time the baby burps.
- The first time the baby sits up.
- The first time the baby rolls over.
- And on…
- And on…
- And on.
You can see how long that list is, and I didn’t even get past the first few months. (And I’m sure I missed a few in between.) There are so many firsts we experience throughout life, but life moves so fast that we often forget to slow down and take everything in.
Pause, breathe and enjoy
I am 100% guilty rushing life along. I’ve done it as far back as I can remember. I looked forward to high school, I looked forward to college, I looked forward to getting a job and a house and I looked forward to getting engaged and getting married.
When Tyler proposed, we paused for a moment to take it all in. We were alone (aside from sleeping Zoey) and no one else knew what had just happened. It was amazing. We had this moment of pure joy and excitement that I’ll cherish forever.
It was in that moment that I told myself I needed to hold on to this feeling. I needed to remember this and continue taking in these moments throughout our engagement. After all, we’re only going to be engaged for this short period of time before we’re married, and during this short period of time we are going to experience so many firsts.
Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort to not only take it all in, but also prevent myself from rushing along the process. While I’m looking forward to and picturing what the future will look like, I’m not sitting here telling myself “I can’t wait to pick out flowers” or “I can’t wait to walk down the aisle.”
While both of those statements are true (especially the second one), I keep telling myself to put the future aside for a moment and really enjoy what’s happening right now—which, so far, is looking at venues.
Sometimes I even have to literally stop dead in my tracks, take a deep breath and look around. It’s like when Jim and Pam took mental pictures of their wedding day (The Office reference).
It really helps me to truly enjoy the process.
Make the effort to take it all in
Whether you’re finding yourself rushing to finish school, find a new job, get married or to simply end your day and plop into your bed, remember to slow down from time to time. Enjoy the “firsts” that you are experiencing, because you will never experience those firsts again.
It may sound intimidating, but before you know it, you’ll be pausing, breathing and enjoying the moment you’re in without thinking about it. And, I promise you’ll look back and thank yourself for doing so.
Life already moves at supersonic speed. If pausing and enjoying everything around you here and there makes it go by slower, then it’s totally worth it.