Saturday was my first real ride out as a pillion on Pete’s motorbike and it was a long one. We rode out to Didcot and then across to the other side of Chelmsford before coming back home. That’s a baptism of fire if ever there was one. Anyone who knows me will know that doing something as risky as motorbiking is something that doesn’t come naturally, this was a gesture of affection to my husband and the friends we go out riding with and in and of itself Saturday seemed like a really big day.

And then Saturday went wrong.

I won’t go into unnecessary detail but the upshot was that we were still 75 miles from home come 930 at night and the light was fading fast. The leisurely pace that would have been afforded to me during the day light hours was longer available as we were all eager to get home and I soon found myself traveling at speed round winding country roads in the dark. My first instinct was terror. I found myself praying to patron deities that I’m not convinced exist and screwing my face up, while my back hunched over and I wondered what would happen after I died.

I’m not always very good at being present. In the moments when I am focused on a task I am almost impossible to distract but a lot of time my head is in the clouds and the bulk of my energies are being spend on over-thinking or social networking while the meat of life’s moments pass me by. On the back of Pete’s bike that night however, I decided to take charge.

The first point that I established with myself was that I was not in control of any part of the experience apart from my own comfort and position on the motorbike. So I told myself right there and then to stop worrying about things I couldn’t control. So I then diverted my attention to my physical condition. I established right away that there was nothing I could do about the ache in my knees being caused by the knee protectors so I stopped worrying about them to. I did discover however that my back was hurting for the first time that day and that the reason for it was that I was tense, so I persuaded my muscles to let go of that too.

The last and darkly negative thought I worked through was the concept that if these were my final moments then I should damn well make the most of them. I fought off the desire to start writing this blog in head and started to focus on what was going on around me. I remembered that I quite like the night time, I noticed the hazy colours on the horizon and the damp scent of the foliage and flowers around us. I sat up high enough to feel the breeze and told myself that this must be what it feels like to be flying. I convinced myself to enjoy the experience in the moment.

It occurred to me while I was going through this process that this is how we should think at every moment in our lives. That which is round the corner is irrelevant, you may never get there. That which is in the past is already gone. The only time that matters is now and we should get the most out of it.

Can I say that I am now always living in the moment? Of course not. I’m a writer, my imagination will always run away with me but I think I’ve made a big step forward. The next will be to moderate the amount of time I waste in front of televisions and on social media. But I’m not going to stress about it or make a plan. I’m just going to see where my news insights takes me. At the moment things are what they are as they are every moment, and I will work towards making the most of them.

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