by rebecca stewart
Who knew two little words could strike such a chord in one's heart and create epiphanous realizations? In June, comedian, author, and "recovering pessimist," Kristina Kuzmic posted a video on TikTok sharing how these two little words, "Right now," have made such a huge difference in her life. She said,
Whenever there's something really frustrating or heavy or sad or stressful in my life, I add 'right now' to that thing that's frustrating me now. So, for example, I'm not getting enough sleep, right now. My kid is struggling, right now. My toddler is stripping themselves naked in public places and throwing massive tantrums, right now. My teenager hates me, right now. This grief I'm feeling is so heavy that I can't even get out of bed, right now. What that right now does at the end of the sentence is it takes away the permanence; it reminds you that life is a string of phases; a bad year or two or five does not equal a bad life; it equals a bad year or two or five. You're not stuck; keep moving forward.
Life truly is a string of phases, yet it can feel like that phase is never-ending when we're in the thick of things. Like some kind of Groundhog Day hell loop. Intellectually, we know that these hard things aren't going to last forever but giving ourselves this "right now" shift in perspective can give our brains a major break because, as Kuzmic said, it takes away the permanence. It's a mindset that can make a difference in every aspect of our lives.
Let's dial back the immensity of this statement and apply it to something as "simple" as getting through your workout. Or, heck, making the choice to take one step forward and start said workout. As several of the trainers in the fitness app I use like to say, "Anyone can do anything for 30 seconds." This is them talking us through whatever exercise in the circuit they know we're absolutely complaining about from the other side of our screens. If we zero in on manageable objectives, we can accomplish so much.
It's like in parenting when we've got a picky or reluctant eater, or your kid is facing the messiest bedroom ever, or the project to end all projects, or has a plethora of college applications to complete. We help them, not by focusing on the bigger picture, but by breaking it down – one bite at a time, one task at a time, into manageable pieces. These examples, though, have a very vivid light at the end of the tunnel; it's perhaps easier to apply the right now mindset to these ideas.
We can recognize that each phase of life comes with its own unique set of challenges – if only we knew then what we know now, right? Even for things like middle school that absolutely come with a finite set of days, it can feel endless. When our kid is struggling or hurting, when it feels like our hearts are broken into a million pieces, it's all too easy for our brains to spiral and feel stuck in a false permanence. And so, we fight for the truth of those two perspective-shifting words – this is a hard thing, right now, and we will get through it.
Let's take a moment to also acknowledge the things that maybe don't have a distinct or obvious end in sight; rather, it's something that we continue to move through. Kuzmic mentions grief. There are some experiences in life that never fully stop aching, but the severity of our grief or anger or other BIG emotion, blessedly, does not consistently stay at a 10 forever; it ebbs, and it flows. So maybe it feels impossible right now, but it won't always. Right Now for these kinds of things can offer us a much-needed life raft when we feel in danger of the water overwhelming.
Finally, it's important that we don't weaponize these two precious words. They are not meant to minimize what you or someone else is going through; rather, it is saying, look, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is fighting for a mindset that says, I know this won't last forever. These two words are not a magic wand; they don't miraculously make things all better, but they provide light. And hope.
Printed in the July 2023 issue of Simply Local Magazine San Diego