“I’m living my best life!"

I have a few horribly kept secrets. Number 1, I live my life with intention and with gratitude. I freaking love my life and can’t imagine another way to live it. Number 2, I’m freaking exhausted. No, not the “I could have snoozed one extra time” exhausted, but the “I think I haven’t slept this past decade” exhausted. Number 3, I try to live my life with no compromises. Family life with two young kids, business, and full time doctoral student… “Why can’t I do it all” I often think… Oh wait, I guess I need to refer back to number 2. Exhaustion. That is why we can’t always do it all.

Those are my truths, and I love them. I often go for walks or runs with the kids every weekend. Sometimes I see some older neighbors sipping coffee while scratching their dog’s ears with their newspaper in hand. Recently, I thought, “wow, they are living the good life. They finally got there.” I was probably up way early that morning, had already dealt with some meltdowns for the day from the kids, and knew I would not sit down for another 5 years or so. Sometimes that image of a leisurely coffee on the porch does look like the good life. However, I am often grounded back to my number 1 truth: gratitude and intention. Today, I had a moment that shook me. I heard words from my 3-year-old daughter that changed me. The words were, “Daddy, do you want to have a tea party?” She has never even had tea a day in her life, so I have no idea how she knew what a tea party was, but I realized this is freaking the good life - tea parties with dad! I don’t need to fast forward another 20 years to get to my best life. In fact, my daughter’s words reminded me that I’m going to yearn for these days for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I actually adore toddlers, but I also love teenagers. There is something about the struggle into independence that I absolutely adore, so I know I have great things to come. However, hearing the words “daddy do you want to have a tea party” made me realize you can live the dream at any age.

Loving life does not mean you have a life that is better than your neighbors. It means you soak in the good moments, you don’t let the bad moments define you, and you take in the here and now when life becomes stressful. The big fancy word for this kind of living is mindfulness- living in the present moment. However, in the words of my 3-year-old child I often just say “I’m living my best life” because that is exactly what mindfulness really is. We can’t control what life brings, but we can control how we respond to it. It’s time to start living with intention, gratitude, and in the moment to really get the most out of life. Read more about some of my favorite tips to live with intention and gratitude.

1.     Mindfulness parenting: Parenting is a joy. I say that with utter truth. Parenting is also exhausting. It depends on the moment which statement sounds more true. Mindfulness parenting means you spend 15-30 minutes completely in the moment with your children. Have no plans, just spend time on the floor with them. I have done this cloud gazing, finding bugs, or using our imagination in the playroom. Whatever your child brings, be there 100 percent without thinking of the million things you need to do when you finish. Be in the moment.

2.     Quit waiting for tomorrow. I am the biggest goal setter you will see. I love it because I can go after anything. However, once I entered my 30s I realized that my goal oriented behaviors were actually impacting my quality of life. While I still set goals, I stop looking to those goals for my happiness. I have learned that I won’t be happier if I lose 10 pounds, finish school, or get a promotion… I can be happy today. Some days it is okay to look at life and think “today is going to be a good day!”

3.     Spend time outdoors. I have the belief that the universe has healing powers. After a stressful day (or even year!), my favorite thing to do is just soak in the outdoors. If you’re my neighbor you have probably seen me playing in the rain with my kiddos, running in the 100-degree heat in the summer, or riding my bike through the mud. I just absolutely love everything outdoors. You don’t have to be extreme, but spend some time going out for a walk, taking in this beautiful city (if you don’t find it beautiful, keep walking there are so many things to enjoy here), or just sitting on a park bench. It’s healing.

Stop living for tomorrow, stop thinking that the future is “the good life,” and start creating the good life now. Living in the moment and enjoying the moment are some awesome things!

Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LPA, LSSP, LPC-S

Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing counseling and diagnostic evaluations for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, evaluations, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com and read more about her services http://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services-1/