One day at a time

One day at a time.

I practically live by this mantra. Thinking about the future sends me into a frothing frenzy of anxiety. Thinking about the past causes me to pick apart every little thing I’ve EVER done and cringe at how awful a person I am. So the only option left is to live right now, in the only moment I will ever be able to really live in. This one moment, this second and the next. Slowly. Breathe.

For the most part, this method of living does help but there are times where it makes things so much more difficult to navigate in life. For example, when living day to day, the day I’m living in becomes that much more important. Every single little thing that happens in that one day will have a bigger overall effect on me than it should.

A couple of harsh words can send me spiraling into an abyss with pain so great that I feel I don’t deserve–or want–to live anymore. It’s not over-dramatization. In that moment of time, I don’t want to be alive. That scares me, especially as I’m naturally afraid of death when I’m not consumed by mental anguish.

The same can be said for the happiness of a moment. When I close my eyes and I’m listening to my current favorite song, I am swept in that moment. I’m in the song, I’m following the notes, the lyrics, the voices. They’re taking me on a journey. I love those moments. I feel truly at peace.

One day at a time.

It sounds so simple and it can be quite effective but one needs to remember that it also has its pitfalls. There is no single way of living that doesn’t come with a few unpleasant side effects.

I just have to remember in stressful moments that I’m living that moment, that I can’t rely on the fact that tomorrow is a new day. Striving for that new day brings hope but it also doesn’t help me in the moment. I need to focus instead on the moment I’m in and to find ways to enjoy it, to remind myself that the things that are trying to crowd my mind and overwhelm me will all have THEIR own moment later. Not NOW. LATER. There’s no use in going into a panic attack about an upcoming test, not if I am still taking each moment as it comes. Arrange time to do that work and leave it in that moment.

It works for me most days but occasionally, I take a little tumble. I’ll be okay though.

Rachel Aseltine

Rachel Aseltine

R.A. Aseltine is an author and roleplayer living in California with her husband, guinea pig, and five cats.

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