Is the Countdown Always On?

I hate to rub it in, although I’m sure you already know this if you follow me on Instagram, but I’m writing this from 30,000 feet in the air on my way home from a 10 day trip with Mike. We started in Tenerife as our first winter in London left us craving a little blue sky, sunshine and warmth. From there we hopped over to Amsterdam where we spent Easter weekend exploring, strolling and adventuring around what so many people had told me was one of their favourite cities in Europe.

I feel it necessary to out myself here as what I like to call a ‘chronic countdown-er’. No matter how hard I try to just be present on vacation, that little whisper creeps in - oh no, 3 days to go. It’s almost over. This is your last day. Sometimes by the middle of my trip, I’m already anticipating the day that I have to leave. 

Any other ‘chronic countdown-ers’ reading this?

As someone who knows the power of living in the moment, I tend to give myself a hard time about this little mental trap I so often find myself in. I’ve found that the circumstances of my life this year - splitting my time between two countries, dealing with a seasonal business, living with my boyfriend and then living an ocean away from him - has put a magnifying glass on my tendency to countdown. For this let’s all be present and live in the moment yoga teacher, it can get really frustrating!

Whether it’s excited anticipation for a positive change or an anxious dread for a change you aren’t quite ready for, this mental trap creeps into all of our lives at some point. There’s always something we can think of as coming up next. The next weekend, the next project at work, the next vacation, the next home, the next time we’re reunited or parting of ways with someone we love. 

This human tendency to countdown has me wondering about truly living life to the fullest. Is that even possible when we’re constantly counting down the days to when the next phase will start?

If you had asked me this question a year or even a week ago, my answer would be no. I would tell you that waiting for the next thing and counting down the days is robbing you of the moment and that the moment is all you ever really have which is why I’ve always felt so annoyed by my tendency to fall into this thinking trap. 

But today my answer is yes, it’s definitely possible to appreciate where you are even when you’re brain is bouncing to the next thing. In fact, the countdown is an instant reminder that nothing in life lasts forever and that we better enjoy it while we can. 

As I sit here typing away on my computer in a tiny, middle airplane seat with Mike snoozing beside me, I would usually be bored and counting down the minutes until we finally land at Heathrow. But today, I know that my time with him is limited. That it’s less than 2 months until I fly back to Canada and he stays in London and during those long distance months there will be moments that I would love to be sitting next to him on a plane, writing this blog post and passing the time. The countdown reminds me that even mundane moments like this one can be special if I remember to see them that way.

If you’re reading this and feeling trapped in the countdown game, use it to your advantage. Let it remind you that life is precious, time is limited and that the little moments that make up each day are always slipping by. When you hear that whisper telling you you’ve got so many days or weeks until the next thing, it’s an instant reminder to get back to where you are. 

The countdown can make that moment even sweeter if you let it.