Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In the moment

I've noticed that Alzheimer's patients and children have something in common that I admire: they totally live in the moment.

When my mother-in-law was far enough into the Alzheimer's disease to still know us but not be able to function on her own, I had difficult conversations with her because she was so "in the moment". There was no yesterday and no tomorrow for her and she could only talk about what was right in front of her. She would compliment me twenty times for the shirt I was wearing but never ask about her grandchildren. She would talk about the magazine on the table in front of her but not ask about my husband, her son. She had no frame of reference outside the moment she was living. I suppose that's why they have no stress and in her case she was always happy. It's such a horrible disease for the people around someone to watch, but for the afflicted, it's not so bad. They live in a wonderful world of "the moment".

With kids its very much the same. I've noticed that when the ones from another state are here visiting, they rarely mention home. They don't worry about their friends there or what's happening to their pets. They just live here in the now, enjoying every moment they're experiencing. In the same way, as much as they protest about not wanting to leave when the time comes, once they get home we don't hear from them much unless its initiated by us. They are so involved with their lives there, with the friends and activities, they have no time to miss us and again, are "in the moment".

I wish I could be more like that sometimes. I worry too much about tomorrow and think too much about yesterday. I wasted time thinking about things that are not important and it distracts from the present at times. I think its a human thing to see our lives as an arch and not in a moment-by-moment slide show, but it can be debilitating to do so. I'm taking the lesson learned from my mother-in-law and my children and trying to apply it.

1 comment:

Ben said...

An interesting observation. Thinking it is a matter of focus.
Wonder why it is as we get older we tend to repeat ourselves. You would think with age comes more to talk about but I often find myself repeating the same stories.