Let’s embrace loss and live for today

Christina Greer Ph.D. | 7/12/2018, 1:24 p.m.
It seems as if I am surrounded by loss, as are so many friends and colleagues around me. As I ...

These past few weeks have been filled with a series of losses. Three different close friends had a parent pass away, and a dear colleague died suddenly at a relatively young age. It seems as if I am surrounded by loss, as are so many friends and colleagues around me. As I send words of sympathy and encouragement to the bereaved families, I am reminded that life is a series of moments to treasure, and I must do better at telling the people around me how I feel about them, as well as reflecting the goodness that is inside of me back onto the world.

My grandparents used to say, “Tomorrow is not promised.” I heard that phrase my entire life and even mocked it every now and again when making a point. As I mature, I now see the wisdom in what they were trying to impart to me. In that simple phrase is a silent promise and dedication to be the best version of yourself today—and not at a later date when you feel up to it. In this phrase is an understanding of the tiny miracles that happen each day and have been gifted to us by higher powers. Buddhist principles implore us to live in the present and to not get too overwhelmed with what the future holds or dwell in the past about events that have already passed. The real benefits of life’s wonders come when we are present and paying attention to what is around us, including all of the truly fascinating and love-filled individuals in our lives and even those strangers we pass daily.

Now that summer is here, I am trying to pay attention to my surroundings more as I walk the streets of New York City and country roads in Massachusetts. I am training myself to take time to notice the tiny insects and diverse bird calls that surround me on my journeys each day. Even though I am a city girl and not a fan of bugs, I am resisting the temptation to kill an insect “just because.” I am trying to embrace all of the creatures large and small on this planet.

Some of the small changes I have made in the past few weeks have helped me tremendously in my quest to live for today. One of my greatest achievements has been to decrease my time on social media, more specifically, Twitter. It drains my time and energy, and I am consumed with the news, things that have happened in the past, and ultimately I end up spending far too much time worried about the future. What is your “Twitter?” These next few weeks, begin to think of something to add or subtract from your life to help you live for today and in the moment.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is the 2018 NYU McSilver Institute Fellow and an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream” and the host of The Aftermath on Ozy.com. You can find her on Twitter @Dr_CMGreer.