My wife loves getting together with her extended family so they can reminisce about things that happened in the past. She loves going to each person, listening to their stories, and communicating her past joyous times with them.
My family, however, wasn’t that close, which makes people, even my wife, think I’m not a people person. As a minister, saying I’m not a people person seems sacrilegious.
What are you talking about?! Of course, I’m a people person! I just don’t need to be continuously around people to enjoy life. I’m a N.O.W. person. I enjoy life wherever I am and with whomever I’m with, even if that person is only me.
We live in a world that moves so fast that we miss the enjoyment of life, while seeking out the joys of life. We so desperately want to be where the action is that we overlook the beauty of where we are now.
I’ve always been a person that felt comfortable being alone. Mind you, I’m never lonely when I’m alone. What I feel is peace. A peace, as the Bible says, that passes all understanding.
A peace that allows me to find comfort within myself being outside enjoying the splendor of the day. At peace, just looking at the beauty of the clouds, birds flying in the air, squirrels running on the telephone lines, while listening to some smooth jazz.
It’s not like I don’t want to be with others, it’s just I’m living my N.O.W. I’m content. It’s been a long journey, but I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. Philippians 4:11
The nostalgia of reminiscing can be good at bringing more meaningful memories of life. Still, it can also cause a lot of pain when it becomes obsessive (focused only on negative events) or escapist (focusing solely on the good old days, in comparison to the present).
Thinking about the past when it’s filled with discomfort and grief can damage how you view your future and cause self-negative reminiscence.
The Portuguese description of a person having regressive reminiscing feelings is “Saudade”. Saudade is a feeling of longing, melancholy, desire, and it describes a deep emotional state, a yearning for happiness that has passed or perhaps never even existed.
Self-negative reminiscence can lead to a regressive reminiscing like post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder; however, most of us just see it as a painful reminder of the past.
Someone hurt me in a relationship or embarrassed me at school. Reminiscing about how your parents treated your siblings better, or the prejudice you experienced at your place of employment.
I remember hearing an individual go back 30 years reminiscing about one time they ran for several touchdowns in a game of football we played as kids. One reminisced for decades about getting their lost job back or a lost love. Any period of life can make reminiscing detrimental; however, focusing on your N.O.W. can help remove those painful times.
So what is my N.O.W.? It’s Noticing Opportunities to Be A Winner In Life, or the short version – Noticing Opportunities to Win.
Again, I must stress that there’s nothing wrong with reminiscing, but what I’ve ascertained as a religious counselor is that most people reminisce because they are not very optimistic about their current life situation. They reflect more about the positive times in their lives, to ease pessimism. But focusing on your N.O.W. removes a defeatist attitude. Let’s dive into the acronym.
The first letter N, noticing, is a reference regarding the understanding of what surrounds you today. There are thousands of quotes telling us to live today because tomorrow isn’t promised. But I don’t want to scare you into loving the life you live today; I want you to appreciate it.
You are alive today! Noticing that you were blessed to see another day is one of the most overlooked gifts from God. Each day we are granted life, we are given 24 hours to make that life enjoyable; 16 if you get eight hours of sleep.
I try to enjoy life so much that I get amazed by the simplest of things, like walking up the stairs to the train station and noticing that I’m 20 feet higher in the air. Or when I’m driving my car, being fascinated that I’m sitting down and moving at the same time.
Amazed that a cruise ship weighing 225,300 tons, with a capacity of almost 8,500 people, can float on water, but since I can’t swim, my body weighing 200 pounds would fall to the bottom of the ocean. Or that an airplane can fly with a maximum takeoff weight of about 175,000 pounds, but gravity pulls it back to the ground.
Noticing that my heart still beats and my eyes still work and my mind still functions. Sometimes I look at people wondering, are they happy to be alive or just focusing on the problems of life.
So many people drink themselves into a false sense of happiness, only to discover that the “Good Morning Heartache” is still there. Noticing that you are alive and appreciating each moment means you will never waste time being anxious about whether that moment will last. You relish the moment and enjoy the next.
One night I was out with my wife, and I smiled. She asked me, “What are you smiling about,” and I told her I’m happy being with you. I was enjoying my N.O.W. moment with her, and thankful I could appreciate that she was spending it with me.
There is a quote that says, “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” If you want to live your N.O.W. life, noticing the creation of life and it’s beautiful surroundings begins with you.
The next letter, O, is for opportunities. The definition of opportunities is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. In my N.O.W. life, I look for opportunities that will help me enjoy my day. I look for opportunities to laugh, to smile, and yes, even cry tears of joy.
Opportunities to avoid pain, remove doubts, and restore confidence that I am more than a conqueror. Opportunities to love, to share, to forgive, and remember to ask for forgiveness. Each day I look for opportunities to remind myself that I love me, and I’m going to enjoy being me without needing anyone to confirm me.
The lack of discovering opportunities to make each day count allows depression, fear, and loneliness to occupy a space meant to be filled with encouraging prospects of success.
When the day that lies ahead of me seems impossible to face, when someone else instead of me always seems to know the way, that’s the time you have to find opportunities to make it a brighter day.
Be prosperous and seek out opportunities and never let anyone say that it’s impossible to be happy all day. I disagree. But even if your whole day isn’t filled with joy, be glad that you have the opportunities to end it thinking about tomorrow’s opportunities for happiness. Always allow your destiny to meets your opportunities.
The last letter is W. Being a winner, or to win in life, starts the moment you wake up. For me, it starts by thanking God for another day. How you begin is essential to the winning process you will have as you move through your day.
Winners never give up! Hey, I know the boss can get on your last nerve, that child is driving you crazy, or you wish those people on the train would just sit down and shut up. Okay that’s me, but win the moment by refusing to allow circumstances to define you.
Even if you have to approach each day one hour at a time, try winning the entire 60 minutes. If you only win 10, 20, or 30 minutes of that hour, win more the next hour.
One of my sayings is, “If this is the worst thing that happened to me today, I’m blessed.” I’m not trying to be delusional about what happened, but to overcome it by having a winning spirit, and not allowing it to defeat my attitude to win.
Any champion – Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Jackie Robinson, Wilma Rudolph, Tiger Woods, or the late Kobe Bryant – has an unquenchable desire to win. You must have that same desire, each day, because failure doesn’t take a day off.
Live your N.O.W. life, now!