Using Milestones to Measure Mindfulness

Today is my husband’s birthday.

As I was walking the dogs this morning, and focusing on being present (which is pretty easy to do with them!), I realized birthdays are built-in reminders to stay mindful. When we celebrate a birthday we naturally reflect on the past year.

  • Did we accomplish what we wanted?
  • Are we where we want to be in our life?
  • Are we on the right path, or do we need to make some changes?

Looking Forward.

As we look forward to the coming year, it’s a great opportunity to set an intention to be more present, especially if we’ve discovered the past year is a bit of a blur.


If we look back and feel as though the year flew by and we don’t have much to show for it, we may discover we’ve been living on autopilot. Just going through the motions of our life, and not truly savoring every moment.

If we look back and aren’t happy with what we see, now is the time to make changes so a year from now we’re not sitting in the same place.

This is particularly important as we get older.

We begin to realize we don’t have forever. It’s not like when we were young and had our entire life ahead of us. In that case if we stagnated for a while, got off track, or even wasted time, it didn’t feel quite so important. Odds are we were probably pretty present back then. Less focus on where we’d been. Fewer regrets. We were just living, day to day.

But at some point, we begin spending more time looking back, and forward.

Perhaps it’s when we hit midlife and wonder if this is all there is. Is this what we’ve been working so hard for all our lives? And if so, why do we still feel like something’s missing?

Perhaps it’s when our children leave the nest and we begin to contemplate our next chapter. We may inventory our past mistakes and wonder where we’d be without those missteps. We may begin dreaming about what could have been.

But all of this takes us out of the present moment.

And although its a bit cliché to say, today really is all we have. So there’s no sense wasting it looking back or forward, regretfully or wistfully. Better to vow to make the most of every day. To live fully. To go after what we really want. To dream bigger and take chances. Because at some point it’s now or never.

Living Fully.

My husband turned 58 today and while I certainly hope he has many more healthy years ahead of him, I also know we’re discussing some pretty big, life-changing dreams right now. Things we’re feeling called to. Things that are a little bit scary and yet very exciting at the same time.

After all, this is it. It’s not a dress rehearsal for the big show. This is our one life, to do with what we want. We can spend it doing what we think we’re supposed to be doing. Or what we believe others expect of us. Or we can live inspired.

I choose living inspired. How about you?

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