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Live your Life NOW

I have a friend who is a world-class days-of-yore dweller. 

Let’s call her Prudence.

She is funny, she is smart, and she is fixated on how great things were when she was younger, hotter, more needed by her kids. She has a fantastic adult son, a dedicated partner, and a little too much time on her hands. She goes to the gym a lot, perhaps thinking she’ll find her old self there. Don’t worry - I’m not writing this behind her back. Though I’m not sharing her name, she has given me permission to share the story of how one Plum helped another Plum to be more intentional about NOW.

Rewriting history to make today seem dull and uninspiring is a familiar tale. Rosy retrospection is the phenomenon in which people sometimes judge the past disproportionately more positively than they judge the present. Pru’s past may not have been as perfect as she remembers it to be. 

We're all guilty of being the architects of our own nostalgia. It's like we're the directors of a rom-com, editing out the scenes we'd rather forget and splicing together the highlights reel. Our brains are wired to protect us from the harsh realities of life. So, when we're sipping our morning coffee and reminiscing about that sexy advertising job right out of college, or that long-lost love, our minds conveniently filter out the less-than-perfect moments, leaving us with a shiny, idealized version of the past. 

But what is the effect of that? To make us feel worse in the moment?

When you find yourself wistfully yearning for the 'good old days,' take a moment to give your memories a reality check. Try to balance the fond recollections with a dash of reality. Remember that terrible boss, those soul-crushing meetings, or that ex who couldn't spell 'commitment', much less show up on time? Remember the hours you spent at the gym to get that toned ass HOPING someone would think it was good enough. It's not about dwelling on the negative, it's about painting a more accurate picture of what was.

 "Sweetheart," I said to Pru, "before you get lost in the dreamy haze of yesteryear, ask yourself what you're truly missing. Was it being ‘wanted’? Was it the thrill of a new adventure, or the camaraderie of friends?” Identifying the essence of your longing can guide you to recreate or cultivate those cherished feelings in your present.

This isn’t slapping on a cheerful smile when their present situation is far from ideal. It's perfectly okay to acknowledge that today might be a tough day, that your present situation isn't a bed of roses. Denying your true emotions is just another form of self-sabotage.

Bringing mindfulness into the mix is key. Whether it's through meditation, journaling, or simply savoring your morning coffee, grounding yourself in the now can be your escape from the prison of nostalgia. Engage your senses, feel the warmth of your coffee mug, listen to the birds outside, and let the world remind you that today is just as precious as any yesterday.

There was a brief moment when I thought my life had peaked in my twenties and my best years were over. But then, in my thirties, I realized I had the power to change my circumstances. I had a fantastic job, a great circle of friends, and a little kiddo who wanted nothing more than to spend time with me. Suddenly, the past couldn't compete with the joy of being exactly where I was.

The past may be a source of nostalgia, but the present is where the magic happens. Life is a constantly evolving story, and even the most mundane chapter has its own beauty and significance. 

So, let’s live in the now, shall we?