Being present

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift; that’s why it’s called the present.”

Funny how almost two decades ago that quote was my mantra. Probably because it was so philosophical. Ha! Yeah right! It was actually because I loved the play on words. (Insert geek face here.) My cousin and I became “quote addicts” and even started a quote book. We would write down all kinds of random quotes: movie quotes, song quotes, random weird things we said.

This quote has re-entered my life in one of the most unlikely places: school. My fearless leader, Mrs. Stout, found a book yesterday and thought of me. It’s called “What it Means to be Present” by Rana DiOrio and Eliza Wheeler. This picture book uses kid-friendly language to teach students how to think of others and live life in the here and now.

At first, I wasn’t sure how this book connected to me. But as I kept reading I found connection after connection. Being thankful for what you have, savoring all the little moments in life, noticing when someone needs help, etc. I was dumbfounded that this was in a book that I could teach from.

I have always wanted students to notice life happening right in front of them; to notice that there are others around them that need help or are feeling something and could use a break. That’s what I do all day long. I am constantly reading students, adults, my own kids, my husband to do an emotional check. Are they okay? What could be bothering them? Is this a tough time for them right now? Is there anything I can do to help them?

I’m sort of a people pleaser at times, but it honestly comes from a good place. I just want people to be happy, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, to know that they aren’t alone. Do I feel that way all the time? Uh, no. But do I try to convey that to others? Absolutely.

If it’s a rough day, you will see it all over my face. If I can’t process one more thing whether it be what’s for dinner, or how a student behaved that day, you will see it on my face. Sometimes I come off snippy because I honestly don’t know what to say anymore. But isn’t that life? Isn’t that how we all function? Don’t we all hit a brick wall at some point and say, “I can’t anymore?”

That’s when other people in our life can read our faces and notice that we need help. That we need someone to throw us a rope and drag us to shore. That we need someone to say, don’t worry about dinner, I got it tonight. While this is true for some, it isn’t the case for everyone.

My oldest sister (she loves to be called that by the way) is really great at noticing when someone just needs a quick card sent in the mail. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but the little gesture of love always goes a long way. Or my friend who drops a text message when she thinks of me. It always comes at the best time. I’m always thinking to myself, how did she know? It’s a God thing.

But even if you don’t believe in God, can’t you be present and mindful of other’s situations? Some may say we are “making excuses” or “we’re all soft.” I whole heartily disagree. While there will always be someone who ruins it for everyone else, why act skeptical of someone’s emotions? Would you want someone to be skeptical of your emotions? If I’m having a bad day, I don’t want someone to say, “she’s just trying to get attention,” or “she always does this when…”

I am a victim of depression, anxiety, stress, mood swings, anger, life. Please don’t judge what I’m going through and try to equate it to what you’re going through. In fact, as humans, let’s make a vow not to do that anymore to anyone: students, family, friends etc. Let’s make a vow to be present and help our fellow human beings through this crazy roller coaster of life. Shall we?

(Stepping off soapbox now)


3 thoughts on “Being present

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Whatever one’s religious disposition, it’s a really good way to live and I entirely agree that being cynical – while it has its place – is not good if it seeps into every aspect of life. A lovely piece.


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