For the last time

When did you do something for the last time?

There are several big “last times” in my life. The last time I wrote a check for daycare. The last time we camped in our old camper. Those I celebrated. We were moving on to bigger and better things and, well, daycare is expensive. These were big moments.

This weekend was Labor Day. The unofficial end of the summer in the area in which I live. Like most weekends, we went camping for Labor Day and spent some time on the beach. As I sat in the sand, looking at my kids splashing in the lake, I realized it’s probably the last time this year that we will have a chance to soak up the sun from the shore of the beach in 90 degree temperatures.

We don’t camp again in three weeks, but given the way things works around here, we’ll be camping in jeans and sweatshirts and the beach will be so far from our minds. We’ll just be hoping that we can go without parkas.

I took the time to appreciate what was going on around me. The sounds, the way the sun felt, the sound of my kids in the water, the way it felt to wade in the water. I actually spent more time at the beach, and especially in the water, then I had planned. It just felt so good. I’m not ready for this to be the last time at the beach this year.

There have to be so many “lasts” that I’ve never even noticed.

What about the last time I saw someone before they died? What about the last bite of a really good meal? What about the last time I used my camera before I got the black screen of death?

Did I truly enjoy those moments? Did I realize they would be the last?

Probably not. It got me thinking about fully embracing a moment, being present and taking it all in. I’m sure when I took my last college course, I was more focused on finally being done that I didn’t enjoy what it felt like to sit in the class and be a college senior and the sense of accomplishment.

I do remember being pregnant with my last child and having similar thoughts. My pregnancy was miserable and I was fading quickly toward the end. I just wanted to be done. I wanted her on the outside with us and I wanted my body to feel normal again. But I also thought about the fact that she would be my last. If I gave birth then I would never feel a baby moving on the inside again. It would be over.

I was so focused on the end goal that I didn’t enjoy the journey.

I’ve seen lots of sunrises this summer, but this one was my last one of the 2018 camping season. At least, I think it is. So I decided to take it all in.

So many parts of my life are like that. Especially with anxiety. I spend so much of my life white-knuckling it through the events that make me ridiculously anxious than actually enjoying what’s going on around me.

I need to learn to enjoy the journey.

What are you tips for taking in the moments and making them all matter as though they are the last?