Five of my favorite ways to stay present

I hate when I go a week without writing.

That wasn’t very positive—lemme try again. I feel so much better about myself when I post on a regular basis.

Writing in this blog has become my weekend routine. I’m pretty sure the only people reading it are my friends and my parents. And my friends don’t count because half the time, they’re in it.

This year for Lent I challenged myself to write six posts a week. The idea completely bombed. I went 1.5 weeks strong, until traveling, out-of-town guests, and other priorities got in the way.

Although Lent is forty days—not ten—I did learn one thing: The more I wrote, the more I had to talk about.

I live with a constant dialogue running through my head. It’s really fucking distracting. I also know I’m not the only person living with a built-in narrator.

While this dialogue certainly helps with my job (I don’t know how any creative person could survive without one), it does nothing for my ability to focus. I’m pretty sure I’d have better luck with Ritalin than getting my mind to shut the F up.

Writing takes the never-ending novel running around my head, and puts it somewhere for safekeeping. I think this is why I start my posts off with quotes from my friends. When a sentence strikes a cord with me, I play it on repeat like Sorry by Justin Bieber.

I once had a girl tell me she filled day planners for five years straight. To her, her planner was 90 percent journal, 10 percent calendar. She recorded important milestones with her daily to-do list.

“One time, I was dating this guy who asked me when we first met. I said, ‘Waittttt a second, this was two planners ago….’ And I was able to find the exact date,” she told me.

I thought this was awesome. My memories with my friends are one big, fat blur. Bianca’s are all stored on a bookshelf, packed full of yearly planners.

When I started researching how to be more present, I learned we spend forty-seven percent of waking hours thinking about what isn’t going on. How sad is that? We live half of our lives not living in the present—instead focusing on things that already happened, will happen, or may never happen at all.

My brain is like an episode of Hoarders, and writing is my way to sort through the mess. Here’s a few of my favorite ways to accomplish the same thing:

  1. My friend Lexi’s mom, Stephanie, is an epic scrapbooker. At your high school graduation party, while you were scrambling to collect photos, Stephanie had a library of memories already laid out.
  2. My friend Maranie is one of the most talented photographers I know. She carries her camera with her everywhere (it’s like her iPhone—Lord forbid she leave the house without it). Rarely will she go a day without taking a single photo.
  3. Marla, who I wrote about last week, keeps a daily journal. She writes down ten things she is grateful for each day.
  4. You know those apps where you take a one-second video clip every day? My friend Paula has done this for a year (although I’m pretty sure she forgets almost every-other day). It’s been so cool to watch her replay the past year, one second at a time.

Finding a way to stay present is like finding a way to stay in shape. You have to find the method that works for you. I’ve ran 5-6 days a week for fifteen years, because running is something I—fortunately—happen to love.

I don’t carry a camera because I’d probably lose it like I lose my keys. I’d forget to take a second video because I forget to pack socks in my gym bag. But word-vomiting all over my Mac and hitting publish on WordPress? That’s something I enjoy.

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For All the F Words
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