A few months ago, I was up past midnight recording a solo podcast. I was feeling tired and frustrated that it had taken me so long—longer than it “should have.”
Then I paused. I looked at myself on the webcam with my cool microphone and my headphones, and I thought, “This is what I want to be doing.” This is what I get to do, so I should pause for a minute and enjoy this moment. This is fun creative work I’m proud of. This is making something that might have a positive impact on someone.
I do gratitude lists most mornings, dictating what I’m thankful for into my iPhone while I walk around my neighborhood. I say I’m thankful for my family and health and lots of other blessings in my life. I also say I’m grateful for my personal gifts—my talents, skills, charming personality, etc. I’m not going to claim that making my gratitude list is an act of piety. I think it’s mostly out of self-interest. Gratitude is scientifically proven to boost mental and physical health, and it definitely works for me.
I always end my gratitude list by saying, “I’m grateful that today I’m going to savor all of the precious moments, big and small, from now until I go to sleep.”
People refer to that concept of savoring the moment as “being mindful” or “being present.” I have found that mindfulness is one of the best things I can do to get my gratitude boost and simply feel happy.
I suppose there is something more to mindfulness than just selfishly making myself feel good. There is a spirituality about it because we only get one life, and if we live to 80 it means we only live 4,000 weeks. That scarcity of time on earth makes it feel holy. So it would be a tragedy for me not to stop to notice it frequently.
The problem is it’s hard to remember to pause. It’s natural to feel like we don’t have time to stop and look around because our days are constantly in motion.
One of my tricks to remember to pause is to take a selfie with my phone throughout the day. It’s not uncommon for me to take a selfie on my morning walk. I often take a selfie while reading with my wife, Stephanie, to our 1-1/2-year-old son, Abe, before we put him to bed. I stop what I’m doing to take a photo and then savor the moment. I’m getting better at remembering to pause without taking selfies, but I still like doing it because I like the way it enables me to relive the moment in the future.
Every night before I go to bed, I write in a diary on my computer or phone, and I insert photos from my day. I also get to relive some of the precious moments of the day that I didn’t have a chance to pause for.
I’m not sure how to wrap this up besides to say that at this moment I’m pausing… and it feels good.
Question: When you pause to savor important moments what are you often doing?