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The Gift of Today

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The new year is fast approaching. I can already see the fresh calendars and planners when I go to the store, waiting to be filled with hopes and dreams for 2024. Normally, I’d rush right out to buy one, eager to plot out goals and schedules for January. But this year feels different. This year, I want to be more mindful to stay grounded in the present instead of rushing ahead.

December is almost here, and with it comes holiday bustle, cold nights, and family gatherings. My mind is consumed with buying gifts, planning get-togethers, and keeping up with work before time off. The new year still feels far away. A distant thought.

I used to spend November stressed about preparations for January. Setting ambitious resolutions, researching new workouts, and figuring out the budget for the year ahead. All while barely stopping to enjoy the end of the current year unfolding around me.

This year, I’m trying to change and embrace the gift of today without worrying about tomorrow.

Sitting in my chair in the living room under a blanket, I close my eyes and listen to the silence of the house. I’m transported to autumns past, to memories of leaf piles and grade school basketball practices. I open my eyes and realize the dog is up on my lap, snuggling in the blanket and looking up at me with his big eyes, the small light from the table framing his face and long ears. A simple moment of joy and connection.

Outside my window, trees sway in the November wind, leaves twirling down to blanket the grass. The air is cold and clear. When I’m outside, I breathe it in deeply, feeling present. Grounded. There are still weekend mornings where I can enjoy my coffee at the kitchen table, wearing a sweatshirt and shorts before the deep cold arrives.

My mind tries to skip ahead to snowy forecasts and the holiday rush. But I gently guide my thoughts back to the here and now. The gift of today. There will be time for planning later. Now is for savoring the present.

At night, I linger outside under the stars, crisp air nipping at my cheeks. Walking the dog, I can see Venus hugging the Moon and shining brightly in the winter sky. A glimpse of life’s expansive beauty is so easy to miss.

Soon, I’ll need to think about the future, set goals, and make plans. But for now, I’m learning to treasure each fleeting present moment. To embrace the gifts of today with gratitude before they float away like autumn leaves.

The new year will come in time. For now, I’m living fully in the present.

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