"New Year's eve is like every other night;
there is no pause in the march of the universe,
no breathless moment of silence among created things
that the passage of another twelve months may be noted;
and yet no man has quite the same thoughts
this evening that come with the
coming of darkness on other nights."
Hamilton Wright Mabie
As the quote above says, New Year's eve is a night quite unlike the other 364 nights of the year. It's a night that, no matter where you find yourself, you're much more likely to find yourself reflecting on the twelve months that came before you -- and to wonder about the next twelve months to come. If I had to guess, I'd have to say that New Year's eve is probably one of the hardest days to stay present. With the dawn of a New Year comes the desire to look both forward and backward, making it very hard for anyone to stay in the moment.
But just because something's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't try! This New Year's eve I challenge you (and myself!) to stay in the moment, to stop reminiscing about the past and pondering the future and to just live 100% in the present. I doubt I've ever had a New Year's eve where I focused on the moment and I'm hoping this year will be the first. Here are some words of wisdom I'm going to give myself as the 31st of December approaches...
4 Ways You Can Stay Present on New Year's Eve
1. Notice the tiniest details around you. When your mind starts to wander and you cannot possibly believe that you're going to be able to spend an entire night living in the present moment, take a deep breath and look around you. Don't look at the big picture of what's happening but, instead, focus on the tiniest details. What does the floor beneath your feet look like? Who are the people closest to you? What are they wearing? What are you wearing? What does the cloth feel like on your skin? Use your five senses to really take in all of the things happening around you and you'll be instantly be brought back to the present moment.
2. Acknowledge thoughts of the past and future. Okay, so your mind has made it's way back down the winding paths of the past and the future and you can't seem to bring it back to the now. Everyone around you is talking about what happened over the past year or sharing their New Year's resolutions with you and staying in the present seems next to impossible. Here's what you need to do: acknowledge the past and future thoughts in your head. Give them a moment to shine in your mind. Then imagine them floating away from you, like fast-moving clouds in a summer sky. Having given your mind a chance to process these thoughts briefly and imagine them leaving, you'll be much more able to focus on living in the now.
3. Find a staying present partner-in-crime. If you're surrounded by tons of people talking about what they hope for next year or what they went through this year, it's going to be really hard to get through an evening where you keep your own mind in the present. So, what you need to do is find a staying present partner-in-crime, someone who, like you, wants to stay focused on the now. Having this person by your side will help you both make the most of the moment. When you find your mind wandering, you can ask for reinforcement from your partner and, likewise, you can offer support to him or her. No matter what the goal, doing anything difficult is often best done with a partner. Knowing you have someone else who wants to stay present too will help you both make it through the evening.
4. Partake in enjoyable activities with loved ones. Staying present is hard enough, but imagine trying to stay present while you're doing something you don't want to be doing! For that reason, it's imperative that you plan a New Year's eve activity that will bring you joy and make you happy to be in the moment. Give some thought to what you'd really, really like to be doing when the clock strikes midnight -- and make plans to do it! Also, do what you can to surround yourself with people you love. Nothing pushes your mind to the past or the future more than being around people you don't like. Do what you love with who you love and your goal to stay present on NYE will be a success!
Before reading the quote above, I never gave much thought to how hard it is to be present on New Year's eve. While I believe, to some extent, it's healthy to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year to come, I also believe that, in order to live a truly positive life, you need to do what you can to live in the moment. The customs and culture surrounding New Year's eve makes the goal of being present increasingly difficult to achieve -- but it's not impossible. This New Year's eve I'm going to strive to live in the present and make the most of the last day of the year, and I hope you'll do the same. Remember: the now is all we ever have so we might as well make the most of it!
Thank you for reading Positively Present this year.
Your support means the world to me,
and I hope each and every one of you have
a very positive, very present New Year!