Ten years ago a dear friend of mine, Jordana Jaffe, started a new tradition where instead of creating a New Year’s resolution she picked a word for the upcoming year. She put careful thought into what that chosen word represented. I didn’t like the idea of a New Year’s resolution very much but choosing a word felt different. When the time comes to choose a word my gut usually helps me out and one quickly pops in my head. Although my first choice is typically in line with my final decision I still spend time carefully choosing. I think about what I want for the year ahead as well as what the past year has meant to me. Instead of setting an individual goal I ultimately think about my life as a whole.
This year I chose the word presence. Lately, I’ve realized the importance of being present in each distinct moment. Being present in a moment means carefully paying attention to what’s happening. This may sound easy but in an age where multitasking has become second nature this is quite difficult. People tend to believe that it’s beneficial to get multiple things done at once but is it? Doing more comes at a price. Not only are you doing each thing more poorly you’re also missing out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in what you’re doing. When we live in the moment we allow ourselves to experience whatever is happening to us more deeply.
Most people use the movies as a time to tune out the world. You sit in a movie theatre with your drink and snack and let yourself get engulfed in a story on the big screen while forgetting about life’s daily stressors. Some people are checking their phone while in the movies but most people turn them off because they want the full movie experience. How many other times do people let themselves be absorbed by an experience? I’m going to guess not many other experiences are lived without distractions. Imagine if they were. What would it be like to start living in the moment? I’m not suggesting that this will always be possible but it’s worth a try. Let’s be honest, if you’re doing more than one thing at once you might not value what you’re doing because you’re essentially saying you would rather be doing something else. Fully devoting oneself to the good moments allows them to be more intense and meaningful. Being present for the bad moments has its advantages too because it allows you to process what’s happening and move forward more quickly.
Whether it be exercising to help both my physical and emotional well being, writing a blog post, watching a TV show at home, or spending time with family and friends I’m going to be more present. If I can’t be present and enjoy what I’m doing then I need to reevaluate why I’m doing it in the first place. For me presence is my word of the year. What’s yours?