How To Stop Dwelling On The Past And Live Your Life In The Moment

Shit happens.

That’s the bottom line. And as one of the wise prophets of many millennials’ childhoods, Rafiki from The Lion King said:

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, you can either run from it or, learn from it.”

Unless you have mastered time travel, there’s no going back in time. There is only moving forward. Don’t waste your time with regret. We all have ideas of what life is “supposed” to look like at this moment in time, but that just goes to show that we’re a bunch of perfectionists trying too hard.

I’m currently 24-years-old. Am I exactly where I thought I’d be at this time in my life? Nope. Could I have chosen some paths with less resistance? Damn straight. Does that mean I move through each day, riddled with regret and wondering what could have been?

That’s absolutely not the case. I carpe the fucking diem out of each day, and I encourage you to do the same.

So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to use this month to move forward, without wasting time looking back. Use what you’ve learned and what you hope to accomplish and live in the moment, being ready to throw your plans right out the window.


1. Divert your attention to NOW.

If we spend time over-analyzing how we could have said something differently or taken on that extra project at work last month, we’ll simply fall even more behind in the present.

Put your time and effort into the moment you’re currently in. Laugh harder. Love deeper. Fail epically.

Whatever the case may be, use one moment as a stepping stone to the next. If you stop and think too much, you’re going to lose your balance and fall behind.

2. Realize that living in the future is imaginary.

The thing about the future is that it doesn’t yet exist. Constantly worrying about what COULD happen ironically prevents you from making what you WANT to happen a reality.

Use your lessons from the past and your hopes for the future to bring them together in a way that allows you to live without inhibition. Trust yourself enough to try new things often enough and the good will outweigh the bad.

3. Stop talking, and listen more.

When I see others struggling, it frustrates me as I realize they are talking, talking and talking some more. They don’t listen to others willing to help. And more, they don’t listen long enough to realize that nine times out of 10, their problems aren’t really problems.

A lot of us don’t stop and listen to what’s happening in the world long enough to hear the real problems occurring every day. Once we are silent long enough to understand real problems, it allows us to shift our perspective and better prioritize living a fulfilling life.

I would bet that there are bigger problems than you not being able to find a pair of shoes to match that new pair of skinny jeans. And even losing a job or an ended relationship can often be put into perspective if you’re willing to listen long enough.

4. Find a way to give.

Once you identify the real problems, you can put forth effort to solving those problems by giving.

And I mean giving in a meaningful way. It doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small, time or money, to an individual or a group – just give, and give every day.

Honestly, people appreciate time just as much as money. After all, we all have the same amount of time at the end of each day.

I spend many days and evenings working, whether through the associations I’m involved with, work projects I take home or on my personal projects. However, there are times I feel as if I need something else. Something more.
That’s why I decided to get involved with the Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. So I’m currently going through the training process to be a TrevorChat volunteer.

No money, just my time. The most precious thing I can give. That we can all give.

So there you have it. How are you going to spend your time? Regretting, worrying or living in the moment?

It’s your choice. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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