They say you should live in the moment. Appreciate what is occurring now. The past and the future are relevant but it is the present that you should savor and embrace.
My friend Jen had a baby six months ago and last week I finally got over to her house to meet the tot. Juliet is this potato sack of a baby with delicate features and thick chocolate locks often tacked back with a small barrette. In her fleece onesie, she hung out on my lap and played with my necklace. The beveled baubles entertained for a solid thirty minutes. In that time, I felt a wave of amazement. In that moment, I understood the beauty of having a child.
This morning I got dressed for an appointment. I hesitantly reached for the suit I bought five years ago, a black wool crepe one-button snatched off the sale rack at Saks. The fabric drapes elegantly; the jacket's structure is formal but feminine. Although the last time I tried to wear it, creases tugged across the width of my hips and the flounce of the jacket crumpled above my rear.
Right leg first, left leg second.
Slowly, with both hands gripping the waist, the pants rose above my knees, past my thighs, atop my hips.
They fit. They fit just as they had the day I tried them on in the dressing room, a harsh glow of manufactured lighting exaggerating the dimples on my skin.
I buttoned the waist closed. I propped up onto my tippy toes and admired the way the leg lengthened me. And then I saw my stomach (still not as tight as it could be), my eyes (a sallow yellow circling the lash line), my chin (and the gobble that dangles beneath it). I turned and ran out of my closet.
Far too often in the moment I dismiss my good and focus on the bad. In the moment, I see all of my flaws and imperfections. I see all of the things that I use to define me.
There's a photograph in my apartment taken in Nantucket. It's of me, my mom and Leslie. There is nothing special about that picture. The lighting is mediocre and the background is the worn interior of a house we rented for a few summers. But for whatever reason, that snapshot of the past doesn't reveal any flaws. I think I look trim and attractive. Give me an hour and I'd find nary a criticism. Two shelves over? That collection of pictures is another situation entirely.
For the last few months, I've worked to hard to stifle these feelings. Since December I have been working out four times a week. Since September I have been managing my diet more diligently. It's to be a healthier me, I claim. But at the core it's punishment for not being who I think I should be.
Live in the moment, I said to myself as I used the pad of my finger to dab concealer across my under-eye area. Appreciate the now, I announced as I slipped my feet into three-inch patent pumps. Or just know this will pass because it always does. Both the good and the bad roll in and out like waves upon a shore. Step one foot in front of the other and walk your way toward a better now.