The Christmas tree, aglow with white lights peeking through silvery tinsel, commands attention at the center of the living room window. Hiding conspicuously beneath the heavy branches are mounds of brightly colored presents just begging to be opened by excited hands. A heady mix of cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla waft throughout the house from the oven, where cookies are rising and crisping! Christmas is almost here.

Yet I found myself today, pouring over my December 2019 and my new 2020 calendar, planning site visits, meetings and conferences. A setback at one of the offices demanded my attention and planning. Forgotten were the feelings of joy and comfort in favor of the all too familiar ones of frustration and determination.

Why do we forget about the beauty and blessings right in front of us? Instead we look ahead, planning tomorrow, next week, next year.

I am particularly preaching to myself. Over the past three months, I found myself putting aside things that brought me joy, including writing, to focus on all the work issues that “might” occur. Nights and weekends, instead of relaxing, I planned the week ahead, answered emails or calculated budgets. I rescheduled family visits and lunch with friends because I had prioritized other things.

Ironically, This year. I had been conducting a monthly leadership webinar for my agency. Two of the webinars were on Leadership Burnout and Self-Care. Everything I had researched and presented warned against the very slippery slope on which I currently perched.

The realization of my hypocrisy became evident after I saw several missed messages from a dear friend. This friend stood by me when I had experienced tragedy and celebrated with me when I experienced success. How had I allowed myself to ignore someone who meant so much to me?

Looking within myself, I had to assume responsibility for losing my focus and losing my way. I do believe only I can change my focus and commit to myself, my family and all those I hold dear, to be present.

If, when you look at yourself, you find that you, too, have forgotten to enjoy the moment you are in…I encourage you to open your eyes. Tomorrow will be here whether you fret or not. But this moment right now will never come again.