where to spend your time

You know how you read or hear something and think it’s pretty awesome and then, later, read or hear something that basically reiterates that other thing and you’re like, ‘whoa, I need to tell people that.’? I find it funny (not like ‘haha’, but like ‘hmm’) that I need that validation step to feel this way, but I do.

I just finished an excellent book called The Shack. As an aside, I’m actually very excited that I read an entire book. That’s kind of a big deal for me. Never you mind that my girlfriend told me to read it about eight months ago . Better late than never, I always say.

You all have my highest recommendation to read this book. I have to say that I read the entire thing as non-fiction which may have affected how I felt about it. I have no idea why I’m that gullible, but I am. Anyway, reading it with that lens gave me the opportunity to really connect with the story and the people. Oh, the people. I don’t want to spill the beans for those who haven’t read it. By the way, if you haven’t, go get it. Tomorrow. (Or, if you live in Michigan, wait until we get out of this second round of polar vortex nonsense).

There was a conversation at one point in the book that really struck a chord with me based on something I’d written in August, 2012. It was about time. I re-read it tonight and smiled because I’m happy to say I’m in a better place than I was then. I’m here now.

The question that was asked revolved around where humans were designed to spend most of their time: the past, the present or the future. We would probably all answer similarly, right? We’re probably supposed to spend our time in the present. But how many of us do? I know when I wrote about time, most of mine was spent stewing over past hurts and failures and in anticipation (but probably moreso, fear) of what was to come.

But today? I happily find myself spending time in the present more frequently. Here’s why …

We all have a past. It’s part of our story. It’s good to look back on all of those memories that have helped to shape us into the people we are now. I love recalling special relationships and moments that brought me so much joy. I also look back on what I didn’t do so well and appreciate what I learned from those experiences. The problem, at least what I came to realize for me and what the author was validating, is that it doesn’t do me any good to spend my time in that place. It’s good to reflect, but not for long.

And the future, well, it’s nice to consider and may seem easier to spend my time in but that’s not reality. At least not yet. Sure, we should be planning for our future and making wise choices that lead to our general prosperity, in life, health and love; but those are actually present-time activities when it comes right down to it. Am I right?

Now that I’ve been challenging myself to enjoy this present time, things seem … well, easier. I’m less stressed and enjoying myself a bit more. Take last weekend, for instance.

Friday was my 29th birthday for the fifth time. A couple girlfriends lovingly planned a shopping day on Saturday. We were at our first real stop and the subject of infinity scarves came up. Apparently, not everyone knows what they are? Or maybe just one of my friends that happened to be with me. Anyway, we talked about it, held up a scarf to demonstrate and then the conversation transitioned into … tattoos. I blame credit Kammy for that.

Within two hours, the three of us were getting inked with the infinity symbol. I can assure you this would not have happened even up until a few months ago. I have another tattoo that I got when I was nineteen. I hate it and still want it removed. Let’s just be very clear about that. But, this new tattoo is different. It’s small and tasteful and carries just a boatload of meaning for me. And it was about that moment. It was about me and my girls and feeling goofy enough to get tattoos, but it was also about feeling infinitely loved. Maybe two years from now I’ll look back and think that wasn’t such a wise choice, but I figure the worst that can happen is I’ll have learned from it (oh, and have a permanent mark noting that learning). And who ever said learning was a bad thing anyway? See what I just did there?

What I loved most about the conversation in The Shack  was the idea that spending our time in the present is our realization that we are loved. Loved infinitely, in fact. It doesn’t seem like such a hard choice as to where we should spend our time when you think about it that way, does it?

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