Will I Remember This In 5 Years?
I needed to remind myself of what was important. So I came up with two questions to ask whenever I found myself worrying, feeling anxious, or falling down the dreaded rabbit hole. “Will I remember this in 5 years?” was the first of these questions.
It’s not about whether something that is happening right now will be important five years from now. It’s about realizing that so many of the things we get upset about are things we don’t even remember happening in the future, especially five years from now.
I used to get upset (and sometime swear) when cars cut me off, cyclists ran stop signs, a plate broke as it hit the floor, the squirrels chewed through my squirrel proof bird feeder, shoes were left scattered by the door instead of on the shoe rack, and even when I had to go back to my car to get my re-usable grocery bags (yet again). The list was long.
Now, when I feel myself becoming agitated, annoyed, angry, frustrated or just plain short, I stop. I take a couple of deep breaths and I ask myself if this is something I will remember in five years. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘highly unlikely’ (which it almost always is) I take a few deep breaths and tell myself to “just let it go.” Life is too short to spend it being upset over the trivial. AND if it’s something I won’t remember in five years it IS trivial. Sometimes I smile to myself simply because I know I won’t be carrying these events into the rest of my day, week, or life. It makes me feels good. And that is a better way to spend my days.
Sometimes I do still swear. I am a work in progress.
P.S. Five years from now I will remember taking this photo lying on a blanket under the trees in High Park. A picnic lunch after the 2021 Pandemic lockdown. Glorious.
Photo credit: Heike Mertins
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