Future Planning in the Present

It’s been a lot of vacation prep in our household lately. Is there any possible way to stay present while flying through the purgatory that is packing, to-do listing, and shopping?

Daydreams of the impending vacation are so beguiling, it’s easy to let my mind wander and not even notice the hours – and days – pass by. Truly, last week it occurred to me that several days of our vacation time had already vanished while I barely noticed, swept away by errands and trip planning.

How sad! For months I’ve been looking forward to the time my husband has off of work, our few short weeks of family time together. Yet we had floated through several days, just focusing on the fun times (what I was looking at as our ‘real family time’) to come.

So I’ve been thinking about this paradox: How do you stay present while preparing for the future? There are times when future planning is necessary, and it’s no crime to look ahead, right?

The key, of course, must be staying mindful in whatever it is you are doing right now (even if that’s booking a trip for later), taking each task as it comes, and staying grounded in your physical body and surroundings.

For me, list-making is critical: emptying my brain of the multitude of notes and ideas floating around so I can stop trying to remember everything at once and focus more directly on what’s in front of me.

After that, it’s all about reminding myself that this is the destination, and savouring the small pleasures.

On vacation, every day is like a weekend, and there is no better feeling in the world to me than waking up with my husband and our (cosleeping) baby boy, with our daughter soon to follow. Such luxury!

So, even on our busiest days, I have started reminding myself to savour this time. The slow-out-of-bed mornings. The relaxed bed times. The meal times together (even if it’s just a quick breakfast as we all set out to do bigger things). I’ve started pausing to really savour the feeling of being together, watching my kids as they laugh, and enjoying the moments when I can sit back and let my husband clean up the mess. 😉

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