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So what are you afraid of?

And what does it have to do with living in the moment?

When we think about living in the moment, we think about being a free spirit.  There truly is something magical about going with the moment, and not worrying about where it will take you.  It’s easy to do it in your twenties.  I did it a lot more then I do now.

Part of it is I don’t have the same amount of time to enjoy myself I did when I was younger.  I have responsibilities and commitments to people I care about.  Sometimes it’s amazing stuff;  I should have some really cool book announcements in the next few days.  Also, I’ve been watching some of my hard work as a publicist start to pay off.  It’s been neat to see my diligence rewarded.

That does mean it’s a touch harder to find people to go out with and have a drink with at a moment’s notice now.  That was much easier when I was twenty five.  There is a touch of envy to the more free spirited of us out there.  And there are important lessons to be learned from that time.  Some that I needed to be reminded of.

I’ve been hearing about living in the moment lately and been thinking about it a lot.  Living in the moment is something I’ve struggled with.  For one thing, I’m a long term thinker.   I have goals, and a vision of who and what I want to become.  It’s necessary.  We all need an ideal of what we can achieve.

That does mean that sometimes I get caught up in the future to the point that I miss what is going on in the present.  That is a big no no a lot of us get caught up in.  I’m guilty and I’ve been forced to confront this truth quite a bit this summer.

But that’s the not the same as not having a plan.  Plans do tend to fall apart sometimes.  My favorite joke with plans is to tell this two line joke.

How do you make God laugh?”

Tell Him your plans.”

I’m sure God has more than once guffawed on my ingenious master plans.  Not one of them has worked any way I thought it would.  Great battle chieftains say the same thing.  Every plan is a good one until things happen.  And things will happen.  All the time.

Yet I still plot and scheme and come up with my motivations and plans.  Why?  Not because I expect it to all play out in my head as I envision it – very rarely do I even get an iota of that.   Rather, I do it for a more important reason.

Time.

I look back to my time then and I realized I wasted quite a bit of it.  The problem with no plan is that you go the direction of the wind.  Like a leaf you go to and fro, and only go forward when you fall back to earth.  So much time is lost.  As I’ve gotten older,  I realize I only have so much time to give.

Time isn’t a renewable resource.  Once the moment is gone, it’s gone and it’s not coming back.   We can learn from our mistakes, but we cannot travel into the past and fix them.  So one of the key reasons I try to plan is so I can see everyone I want to see in the spare moments I do have.  Sometimes it still doesn’t work out, but more often than not, I have time to do all the things I want to do (and believe me folks, that’s a big ass list that’s getting bigger all the time.)  and I get the opportunity to live a little bit before whatever I’m called to do calls me back.

This almost feels like a digression, I’m sure, but I needed to clarify the difference between enjoying the moment and living in it.  Some people are more naturally spontaneous, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are living more in the moment than a guy that plans them.  Truthfully the guy making plans can learn a lot about enjoying the moment from the person who is more free spirited.  Consequently, the free spirited person can learn from the the planner how not to be quite so wasteful with their time.

So after that I’m sure you’re asking, what is living in the moment then?

So let’s go back on top, why did I ask about fear?

One of my forthcoming guests on my podcast Just Joshing (which you can listen to right here conveniently enough) was from When Words Collide.  I remember distinctly asking Adam Dreece if he thrives on fear.   He laughed when I asked him that.

I asked him that because this is a guy that tends to go outside his comfort zone.  He seeks to challenge himself in ways he hasn’t before.  On some level, that is terrifying.

I don’t know about each and every one of you, but I’m never in the moment as much as when I’m scared.  I’m aware of everything.  I can hear my heart beat faster.  I can feel my nervousness;  I tend to crack jokes like Peter Parker does when he’s spider man.   I can feel my tension and my awareness heighten.

By and large, I love it.  I love being that aware, that conscious of my existence than when I’m doing something that rattles me.  Fear gets a bad rep for being able to freeze you.  The truth is, fear does so much more than that.  It makes you aware of things in ways you never normally are before, and that in itself is not a bad thing.

It’s only when fear rules you that you have a problem.   You’re not living in the moment – you’re stuck in it.  Fear can freeze you in its tracks.  But if you can face your fears, you will never be quite so alive then in that moment.

So I encourage people to enjoy the moments.  It’s okay to go with the flow, and be spontaneous when the opportunity presents itself.  It can be an amazing time.  That said, a touch of organization gives you more opportunities by and large to maximize the moments you do have.  Be aware of your time.  You only have so much of it.

But if you want to truly live in the moment, face your fears, whatever they are.   You will always be afraid of something, but in those moments you will feel life at its fullest.  As for me, it’s my 35th birthday soon. I got a fear of heights I need to tackle.  So very soon, I’m going to jump out of a plane.

why not?  Join me.  It’ll be fun.