Yesterday we talked about all of the economic doom and gloom and the importance of having a plan and preparing for whatever might come in the future (“Prepare for bad times, and you will only know good times!”).

But while looking ahead and preparing for the future is important, so is appreciating the present.

And sometimes that is even harder to do!

We live in such a rush-rush-results-pressure-time-hurry-more-better-faster society that it is easy to forget the beauty of the present and how magical it can be when we just stop for a moment and remove ourselves from the crazy treadmill of life.

So today, as we move one day closer to Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I’d like to leave you with a famous quote from another kung fu artist (we’ll give Bruce Lee a day off for once…):

Kung Fu Panda (specifically, one of his masters, Master Oogway).

You may remember from the movie how the giant panda, Po, suffered much frustration and was terrified of the future while training to become the kung fu “Dragon Warrior” and defeat the evil snow leopard. At one point he was so frustrated and afraid that he wanted to simply quit and go “back to making noodles”.

But wise Master Oogway (the tortoise) said to him,

“Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the ‘present’.” — Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Today I was painfully reminded of this lesson myself…

I had volunteered several months ago to help serve a special Thanksgiving lunch to all of the Nursery, Pre-K, and Kindergarteners at my daughters’ school. This sounds lovely (and it was), but this morning I must admit that I was not looking forward to it at all. In fact, not only was I not looking forward to it; I was extremely stressed about it and “what I would have to give up” to go do it, and to be honest, I didn’t want to go at all!

I had signed up to help from 10AM – 1:30PM, which is just about the entire school day, and before the morning drop off we had already gone through our own little war at home…the frantic get-to-school-on-time rush (breakfast/books/bag/clothes/teeth/not-THAT-shirt-Mommy!). And to top it all off I had planned on writing this article last night so that I would have today to enjoy, but circumstances intervened as they so often do, and I didn’t get it done.

So this morning I was looking ahead to my now-only-ONE-hour-of-free-time thinking, with absolute dread, “how will I ever get my article written and do everything else I need to do in just ONE hour?!?! It’s IMPOSSIBLE!!!” (<– crappy attitude alert!)

But I had given my committment, which I don’t take lightly, and my daughters were so excited to have “Mama coming to school to help with their class!” so I just said, “well, somehow it will all work out” and went off to volunteer.

And do you know what? It did.

Once I got there and saw the excitement on everyone’s little faces I completely forgot my stress. I laughed, I joked, I served, I hugged my girls and all of their friends, I took pictures and videos like any crazy parent, and completely forgot what I was so stressed out about.

In fact, without even thinking about it, I saw one little boy’s mom, who happens to use the quote I shared with you above as her email signature, and had a huge “ah-ha!” moment. I instantly scrapped the previous idea I had about what I was going to write about today, and knew I had to do this instead.

During that time, I was present. Bruce Lee and Master Oogway would have been proud of me (I like to think, LOL!). And because I was present, I didn’t “waste” a moment of my life but instead enjoyed every minute.

This isn’t always easy to do, (believe me, I know!) and while I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person, I struggle with “enjoying the moment” and “losing sight of the present” like everyone.

But if we can remember that the present really is a gift, we can have an amazing, fulfilling life.

And that’s what really matters.

To your financial success (and all around happiness!),

—Kung Fu Girl