Last weekend I made the trip to Charlottesville, Virginia for a short reunion with my college roommates. In honor of turning 40 (some of us sooner than others), we rented a house next to Monticello, drank wine, sat in the sun (they have that in Virginia) and shared in each others' lives.
The advent of social media makes keeping up with people easier than it once was. I've seen pictures of their families, they've seen me dressed as Dolly Parton, and we all have a general idea of what is going on with one another.
But actually spending time with them was almost like going back in time.
I guess it's the magic of friends who have known you for a lifetime that you can sit down at a kitchen table in Virginia and feel so easily transported to the conversations from our time at Gannon University, where we all met.
Sure the selections on the table are different. We've graduated from box wine and five dollar vodka to a finer vintage - wine that requires a cork screw to open. Conversations shift from struggles with professors to struggles with life - but the ease with which we spoke to one another remained the same.
And I was more present in the 48 hours we spent together than I've been to any one moment in months.
I spend almost every waking moment doing what author Daniel Goleman calls “nexting.” I might take a few minutes to enjoy a Friday night, but by Saturday morning I am planning a blog, worrying about how much I haven’t written, and plagued by a constant, vague notion that I need to be doing more.
Make more money, write more blogs, take on more clients, run more, workout more.
Always so much guilt that I need to do more.
Last weekend, for 48 hours, I gave up more. I didn’t ask myself to write or study on the plane. I looked out the window and watched the sunrise, I talked with a grandmother traveling to Iowa, and opened my laptop only twice - once to order a pizza.
I listened to music, I hugged my friends tightly and felt the bonds of our friendship. Sunday night we watched "The Birdcage," and I hung on every word as though I hadn't watched the movie 100 times in college.
I turned my phone off.
Not on silent, not on Do Not Disturb.
The quote on the board in our gym last week came from a client: “There is not Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, there is only now.”
The greatest gift from my friends last week was enjoying the now. We mindfully spent time with one another because it had been 14 years since we were all in the same room together. The sacredness of being in one another's presence allowed me to lean into the moment in a way I rarely experience these days.
My goal, more so today than ever, is to remain mindful. And that is my wish for you. To not be dulled by the daily routine, but comforted by it. To find a way to enjoy and embrace the now and lean in to the sacredness of the moment.
Our only guarantee is now.
Reach for it. Touch it.