Plan for now

You can spend a lot of time planning for next week, next year or even your retirement, hoping things will be better then, never realising how good life is right now.

Twenty five years working for the state
Saved all your money, got a good rate
Always thinking ’bout that pension plan
The day of retirement, the promised land, well

The day of retirement has finally come
Get a gold watch and your work is done
One month later your heart gave out
What was all that planning about?

Well, they finally lay you in the ground
Your wife and the children standing around
Now they got that pension plan
Rather have you, don’t you know it, man

What a way to go
What a way to go

Seasick Steve. What a way to go on the album You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks.

This can be a real wake-up call. If like many people you find yourself constantly planning for a future but never really enjoying the present moment, perhaps you can try the practice of savouring the now. This practice is essentially mindful, but with a slight twist – the idea is to tune into the pleasantness of an experience in the moment. Savouring present-moment experiences is one of the core hallmarks of leading a life of wellbeing, and so it’s worth having a go.

Shamash Alidina and Joelle Jane Marshall. Mindfulness Workbook for Dummies.

Writers: free you inner voice!

We can all benefit from taking the time to listen to our inner voices. Writers, especially, need to free those inner voices to remove inhibitions and write honestly.

The Dark Half. Directed by: George A. Romero. Writers: Stephen King (novel), George A. Romero (screenplay). Starring: Timothy Hutton.

‘Learning mindfulness (like life in general) will always present difficulties and obstacles. Perhaps you’re pretty nasty to yourself through excessive self-criticism when things don’t work out how you want them to. The way to deal with this harsh inner voice is to listen to it, give it space to unfurl and bring to it a sense of curiosity in a gentle, warm way.’

Shamash Alidina and Joelle Jane Marshall. Mindfulness Workbook for Dummies.

Postmortem playback

There is little to gain from carrying out a post-mortem on a situation, wondering if you should have done this or that, but try telling that to George Costanza.

George Costanza. From Seinfeld, season 8, episode 13 The Comeback.

‘Postmortem is when your mind rehashes or ruminates about what you think happened (or should have happened) in a social situation. Your “postmortem” review of a situation can last from seconds to hours, often “rearing its ugly head” from time to time long after you have left a situation. The following is an example of a “postmortem” review:

‘Oh no, I really screwed up that presentation. I should have prepared more. I can’t believe I made that stupid comment about finances. And I forgot to mention the plan I’ve been preparing. What an idiot! The boss sure had a disappointed look on her face. I bet she regrets promoting me. I’m going to get fired, and I’ll never get another job!’

Nancy L. Kocovski and Jan E. Fleming. The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Free Yourself from Fear and Reclaim Your Life (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)