Be in this moment
Here is a sample thought I had last week as I drifted off to sleep in beautiful sunny Southern California on a recent work trip:
“Should I go to this football game in LA on the Saturday after my job ends, or should I head home on Friday afternoon? You know, maybe I should join my Aunt Jennifer at that baby shower in Rancho Cucamonga after all? Hey wait, when can I see my Uncle Robert? Should we meet at Bob’s Big Boy in Toluca Lake at 1pm Friday? Maybe Evan can join too.
“Actually, hold on, if I shift a couple things around maybe I can make it to Florida to join my family when they visit my in-laws? Jeez, how much would that cost? Maybe I could use miles?
“But if I went home I could have breakfast with Pat and go to the Timbers game. What if it rains? What is the forecast?
“What is the absolute best forecast I can find?”
I don’t know if it is possible to have all these thoughts at once but I was spending quite a few of my moments thinking/panicking about future moments, and it was pretty much messing up my present moment.
One of the simplest, and simultaneously most challenging ideas from improv is the idea of being present in this moment.
It’s simple: just pay attention to what is happening right now. Don’t think about what is going to happen next. Easy, right?
Well, I decided to try it. And I noticed some things.
Notice more, part 1:
Tuesday, in the midst of planning for the Perfect Weekend while I was having dinner with my Uncle Robert and his daughter Hannah I looked up and saw this well-lighted building on the hillside.
“That’s the Griffith Observatory.”
“Is it still open?”
“Yep, till 10.”
“Let’s go check it out, eh?”
Notice more, part 2:
Thursday in the car on the way to dinner in Hollywood.
Where is this restaurant, I wonder? Google Maps knows.
Hey, that’s right near The Comedy Store.
Marc Maron and 15 other top-flight comics.
Tickets available? $15.
Right after dinner scheduled to end.
Those two experiences were right in front of me. No big expense or hassle or epic planning session. Just a little help from Google. They were real highlights of the trip.
I’m sure I will try to create the perfect plan again, and when I start ramping up to red-line level trying to figure out the best possible future moment out of all the infinite possibilities, I will do my best to remember to look around and notice whatever is happening in front of me. Could be a highlight just waiting to be noticed.