I teach in schools in Surrey, and besides teaching mindfulness to teenagers at Woldingham School, I also teach drama. Last Thursday was my Yr 11 GCSE exam performance. Lots of pressure, lots to organise, lots of students to keep calm and positive. I found myself emailing a colleague on Sunday and ended by writing ‘Roll on Friday’. Thinking this was not a very mindful thing to say (ie, wanting to get to the future rather than be with the present, however unpleasant it might be), I deleted it. The performance went fine and I went to school on Friday. Everyone was tired, students wearing mufti and there was an end-of-term feel in the air, yet lots of clearing up to do and work to mark. I caught myself thinking ‘Roll on the weekend’.
I was struck by how, as busy humans, we have such a tendency to be aiming for an imagined future point when we will be able to truly relax and our To Do lists will be complete. So when I next hear myself thinking ‘Roll on Friday’, I will aim to change it to ‘Roll with now, roll with this.’
Remembering that 'This is It' always helps keep things in perspective.
I also find 'This is It' a useful sentiment to bring to mind when I am running, especially when I seem to be simply aiming for the end!
I have come back to this post in April 2021. It is extraordinary to think it is only fourteen months since I wrote this post. During a year of living with the Covid pandemic in the world, many of us have simply wanted time to pass, and there is still a strong sense of waiting for it to be over. Life can resume once we are safe and free to mingle again. I have been very fortunate over the last year during lockdown to have been extremely busy with work, teaching live online lessons for my school four days a week plus doing a lot of online mindfulness classes. I have also been fortunate to live with a family so not on my own, and for us all to have stayed healthy. So it has been much easier for me to consider experiencing each day as a valid part of my life, rather than a day of waiting for something to change. I have noticed this sense of waiting in others, and to some degree it is how we live all the time, even when not in lockdown. We think that life will be properly here when we have got a particular job, found the right partner, lost weight or gained fitness, tidied our homes.... and the list goes on.
Even when most people have had their Covid vaccine, and even when pubs are open again and we can be close to friends and family again with ease, there will still be something else we are waiting for.
So without pushing away or denying anything unpleasant, may we also find some things in our lives that we can celebrate and appreciate today.
Roll with now, roll with this.