Kasey Meredith

Kasey Meredith

Recently, I moved from one side of the country to the other – from South Carolina to Bakersfield.

Admittedly, it was a gutsy move and like any other major life event, is likely to come with a barrage of unwarranted “what ifs,” both from yourself and others.

Clouding your thoughts with these heinous doubts can be extremely stressful and completely ungrounded in reality. By concentrating on the immediate moment, you can release those anxious butterflies in your stomach. This ideology is known as mindfulness, a fancy word for living in the moment, a kind of carpe diem that stems from Buddhism. Cognitive behavioral therapists are even considering mindfulness to be beneficial for patients that suffer/deal with anxiety and depression.

When I was deciding what to do once I graduated, many of my peers were telling me their goals of where they wanted to be by the end of the year, frantically applying for jobs nearly every hour of each day.

It’s easy to feel pressured by your colleagues. Get a job. Get promoted. Meet someone. Move in together. Get a house. Have children. I could see my whole life flash before my eyes as I watched some of my peers make these decisions. Am I late? Why don’t I feel this way? Is it OK to not want these things right now?

By concentrating on the present moment, these stressful what ifs dissolve. It’s tricky almost rewiring our brains to not ponder the future or find comfort in nostalgia. As millennials, we’re taught to be goal-oriented early on in education.

Mindfulness isn’t about abandoning your goal, but leaving it open-ended, susceptible to change. It’s about embracing the great unknown. Your goals reside somewhere in there, free of time, place and doubt.

I also felt more confident as I focused on the goals of day-to-day life and started to take a little time out of my day to reflect on the now. It’s still a work in progress, but I was able to silence the to the doubts in my head about moving to the unknown and unfamiliar.

I’m not saying you’re going to be Zen every waking minute of the day. But taking five minutes each day to actively concentrate on where I’m at right now is like that second cup of coffee in the morning. It’s recharging. 

Kasey Meredith is the newest addition to the Bakersfield Life Magazine team who survived her first month as a Californian. The views expressed in this column are her own. 

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