Living in the Present Moment: Your Life is Not on Hold

August 12, 2020

Life is not looking exactly the way you potentially want it to look right now. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily ideal, but it can also mean that there’s all kinds of really great things that could be happening right now around you, or could come from this time that you can look back on and be like, yeah, I’m glad I didn’t miss that.”

I’ve gone through phases these last few months of struggling mentally with the idea that my life is on hold.  On really bad days, I’ve felt overwhelming grief and even a tinge of bitterness and I am certain that many of you have felt this way too.  If life has taught me anything, it’s to always expect the unexpected, and not get too attached to “the plan” because life simply doesn’t go according to plan. And that doesn’t need to be a bad thing, it can often end up being a really beautiful thing.

In today’s episode we’re talking all about;

  • Life in 2020 during a global pandemic, lockdown, and the collective grief that we are feeling because this year hasn’t “gone as planned”
  • A reminder that life is happening RIGHT NOW with or without us.  We have to see the silver lining and continue living our lives, just differently.
  • Realizing that all the hard “stuff” you’ve been through has potentially prepared you for this exact year and everything we’ve already collectively experienced.
  • And more…

Look for references from today’s episodes?  Find them all here:

Brené on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball

Episode 117: The 9 Year Affair, Lessons in Infidelity


Are you ready? Get listening right away by clicking the link above, or if you’re more in the mood to read today keep scrolling for the full transcription of today’s episode! Let’s do this!


Hey, Hey, welcome back to the Room To Grow Podcast, Emily here and today we’re going to talk a little bit about the overall circumstances that we’re in collectively right now. Where there is a global pandemic happening,  and all plans for 2020 have gone completely out the window. There has been swerving and everything else, actually I had a client the other day refer to it as a “swerving”. She said ‘I don’t know if I’ve had to pivot so much as swerve’. I’m like, you know, I feel you on that and I’m going to use that and give you credit. I did not come up with that, one of my one of my amazing clients came up with that. We’re all feeling it a little bit and I have a lot of thoughts that I’m going to be coming out with more and bringing on some some experts as well to talk a little bit more about the mental health effects that this year has already had, and is going to continue to have as well as some of the long term effects because there’s a lot to this. There’s a lot involved with this. You know, women are by far being disproportionately impacted by this crisis both financially and from a mental health standpoint. People of colour and women of colour specifically are being impacted more significantly, again, in a variety of ways, including being hit by the virus itself disproportionately. I have even had a lot of conversations with people about things like lack of physical touch, you know, not being able to hug people the way we normally would, I am a hugger guys, I’m hurting! I have been hurting since March. It’s a lot. Then when we think about the kids, you know, children that don’t understand any of what is going on. Now kids are having to wear masks as well and the whole school situation, they aren’t able to see their friends and have the social time that they normally would, they aren’t able to hug other people like they usually would, maybe no access to grandparents,  it just goes on and on and on. There are going to be studies about what is going on this year for years because there are going to be a lot of long term effects that we don’t even know about yet. And this is going to be something that we have to collectively continue to unpack. 

What I wanted to focus on today specifically, because there are so many different directions that we can take this and we are going to be talking about this more. I feel like I mentioned this in a previous episode, but I feel like I haven’t been addressing the mental health aspect of everything quite as much for specific episodes, as I usually do just in the last month or two. There’s been a lot going on with the business and I’m so excited and fired up about a lot of the business stuff and podcasting things and all of that. And I always lead taking care of one’s mental health into everything that I do. Again, my clients will be the first ones to tell you, and I’m going to talk about this in an upcoming episode actually, about the questions that I ask them when I strategize with them, what we talk about is a lot in regards to ‘what do you want your life to look like, as much as you want your business to look like’. We’re going to be getting into that more as well. 

Today, specifically, what I think I want to focus on is really living in the present moment, because that’s been sort of unusual this year in a lot of ways. I don’t know about you but in a lot of ways, I have had really dark moments where I have felt as though my life is on hold. Even though, I always know in the moment when that comes up for me that that isn’t actually accurate it can really feel that way because there are so many plans this year that just came to a grinding halt in a wide variety of ways. I’m not special, In fact, I’m incredibly privileged that, you know, this year has sort of come together the way that it did for me and has allowed me the time and space to do things like working on my business and all of that. I am coming from an absolute place of privilege here and I need to acknowledge that first and foremost, but everyone has their own personal grief as well. Everyone is dealing with very personal grief in all of this. And Brenee Brown talks a lot about comparative suffering. I’ve mentioned that before, and I almost don’t even want to do a podcast episode on comparative suffering because I keep referring people to a specific podcast episode that she did on her podcast Unlocking Us about comparative suffering, I simply can’t do it justice the way Brene explained it and described it. So I really, really recommend going to check out that particular episode, I will reference it in the show notes as well. Go check it out. I’ve referred multiple people to it and it is a really, really beautiful explanation about comparative suffering and how comparative suffering doesn’t serve anyone. It doesn’t serve us, when we have those moments where we’re having a tough time, we are suffering in some way but then we immediately think, ‘okay, but so and so has it worse, and so many people have it worse than me. And why would I even talk about this issue with somebody? Why would I bring it up? Why would I… I’m so lucky, I have nothing to complain about’. I think it’s safe to say that all of us have felt that way at one point or another, I certainly have, and I’m sure that I will continue to at times in the future as well.The problem with comparative suffering is that it doesn’t serve any of us, It doesn’t serve anyone and the more we stuff down those negative emotions the more they’re going to come back 10 times harder and bite us in the posterior. So we have to actually acknowledge those emotions as they come up and deal with them, because you are entitled to be sad sometimes, to be upset, to be grieving something, everyone suffers, everyone suffers. And somebody else’s suffering doesn’t make yours, less or more. Suffering is just suffering. Anyway, I don’t want to go too far down that road because again, Brene Brown does a far superior job describing all of that, but I really recommend going to check that out but it is relevant here. When we’re thinking about our lives being on hold, and when I’ve had that thought multiple times this year because all of these plans stopped and events got canceled and trips got canceled and all these different things. There are people that I want to be seeing that I can’t see and so many different things. I’ve gone through so many phases in the last few months of struggling mentally with that idea of life being on hold if I’m being really brutally honest here. on just a very small handful of occasions.  Overall I am relatively positive, what you hear on this podcast of me being pretty upbeat and bubbly and stuff that’s very true to life. Anyone who follows me on instagram where you see my Instagram stories and stuff. That is very me and people tell me, strangers tell me that when they meet me in real life, like wow you are exactly how you show up online, I’m like, Yeah, I really appreciate that. That’s a huge compliment, because I always want to show up as the truest version of myself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days okay?! So that first and foremost, and on some specific really, really particularly bad days. I have felt just incredible. Overwhelming grief, and even just a very slight tinge of bitterness. Again, if I’m being really brutally honest here and 100% transparent, I am NOT living where I want to live, and I’m not able to be with the people I want to be with, ‘m not able to put my life on the track that I had mapped out and planned in my head, of which this particular year was going to play a really big role in moving me towards where I want to go. What I also fully acknowledge is that this year is actually moving me towards where I want to go in a million different ways. They’re just unexpected and not necessarily what I had wanted, but that doesn’t mean that the outcome isn’t still going to be really beautiful. It’s just that because it’s not going the way I wanted to. There have been moments where I’ve been pissed off about that and I think that we can all admit to having those moments in life pandemic or no pandemic. The other thing is that if life has taught me anything, it’s to always expect the unexpected and to not get too attached to the plan, so called, because that isn’t life, life simply doesn’t go just according to “the plan”. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can often end up being a really beautiful thing. Sometimes we may have a really painful road to get to where we’re going. But it also makes us appreciate the beauty of life so much more. Yeah, that might sound a little bit cliche, but it’s kind of true. It’s like how we wouldn’t recognize joy if we didn’t ever experience sadness, or grief. We wouldn’t even know joy when it hit us in the face. We have to have both there. There has to be the dark and the light that’s the balance that we create. And that’s part of being human. That’s part of the human experience. And I’ve told a couple people that, I don’t think I’ve really mentioned this publicly before but for anyone who doesn’t know if you’re new to the podcast or anything like that, when I ended my nine year relationship after finding out about very long term infidelity happening, that have been going on since day one of our relationship, that’s back in Episode 117. The year that followed, particularly the six months that followed, were hell. It was hell for those six months and trying to navigate that and come out of it and healing from that kind of hurt was more than I ever could have imagined and it wasn’t what I had planned, to put it mildly. That was not what I planned and last year, all of last year did not end up looking anything like what I had planned but it ended up being incredibly beautiful and I’ve never been so grateful for not only ending that relationship, but everything that came and bloomed as a result of that. What is really interesting to me is that I’ve thought to myself more than once, if I hadn’t gone through that last year, and navigated that and found my way through that and worked through my own healing on that, I don’t think that I would be in a very…I think I would be having a much harder time, mentally this year than I otherwise would have been. Don’t get me wrong, everyone’s mental health is suffering right now. Everyone is having a tough time with this. But I just feel even on my really dark days, I kind of acknowledge to myself how much better equipped I feel to deal with everything that’s going on this yearmentally than I would have been if I hadn’t had that experience. There was a point in time last year where I joked to a girlfriend of mine that I felt emotionally bulletproof. Obviously, that isn’t actually true at all and I was sort of saying it half jokingly at the time, but I do feel as though the events that I went through in the last year or two, have prepared me for this year to some degree and that I would have been far less equipped to manage it if it wasn’t for that. That’s just one more example of the fact that we have to accept the circumstances as they come, they allow us to move through and navigate what is ahead of us that we can’t see yet. It’s still coming. This is your real life and that feeling that life is on hold is not serving us, because this is the only life that we get. Regardless of whether any of us are particularly thrilled with the current situation, stances and factors that are outside of our control. We have to live life in the best way that we know how right now because there is no practice run to life. There’s all those memes floating around, you know about getting a do over for 2020 or, ‘somebody wake me up when it’s 2021’ and all those things, and I fully understand the sentiment. I completely, completely understand that sentiment. But ultimately, that doesn’t actually serve us in any way because it’s that not only are we undergoing a global awakening, in a lot of ways, many different ways. Talking about racially, from a health standpoint, climate standpoint, there’s so many different things that are happening right now. That we are undergoing an awakening right now and we can’t look away. We need to be very aware as to what is happening right now. While also still taking care of our own mental health in the best way that we can. We only get one shot at life so how can we make the best of those moments, of these moments right now that are happening, whether we want them to or not, whether they’re going exactly the way we want them to or not, is what I mean when we have to figure out what we can be most grateful for in those moments, because there is still always something to be grateful for. That doesn’t mean that you can’t also alongside that gratitude, still be grieving the things that you’re grieving. You’re allowed to have both at the same time. But who do you want to be on the other side of this? Because life isn’t what happens when things go back to normal, so called because quite frankly, whatever normal is going to be on the other side of this is going to look very different than what normal looked like before this. But this is your life. Right? Right at this moment. This is all we have is the present moment and we have to live it. There’s a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, where he says, “how much of human life is lost in waiting”, and that one really hit me in the feels because when we think about that, there’s so many moments in life, I mean, prior to 2020, where we’re waiting for the next thing to happen. We’re looking ahead into the future and we’re like, ‘Okay, well, I’ll be happy when this happens. Or I’ll slow down a little bit when, when I get this promotion, or when I get to this level of my business. I’ll be happy when I lose weight. I’ll be happy when I have a partner. I’ll be happy when I have a baby.’ Whatever that looks like. Like, whatever your definition of that looks like, all of us do this, we’re kind of like waiting for the next thing. And yes, there are aspects of life that of course require patience, even something like building a business, I was just having this conversation with a friend right before I jumped on here that I feel like one of the most difficult parts of entrepreneurship is patience, like doing the work and not seeing necessarily the immediate payoff, but knowing that there’s going to be delayed gratification and doing the work from that standpoint instead, so that you then can create the patience to get there. But if you feel like you’re just living your life waiting for something to happen, you’re not really living and we have to find ways to appreciate these moments that we are in in the present. I’m the first person to admit that I have had days where I have been really struggling with that. I’ve actually had multiple people who have mentioned to me two things, one that I might feel like my life is on pause again, just because of my lifestyle and stuff as well like having the immense privilege of traveling. And I was living on the other side of the world and all of these different things that are not reasonable for me to be doing right now. And the other thing that multiple people have said to me is that I’m like a wild horse waiting to break free and I’m not gonna argue with that, that’s pretty accurate. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t still appreciate what is happening in my everyday life right now and to appreciate the people that are in my everyday life right now and what I can do and work on. 

This isn’t just about Go Go, go, go, go, go go. You need to be finding the time and space to actually rest and enjoy this time not simply seeing this time as so called productive, especially if you’re a parent. I know so many parents who are, I can’t imagine being a parent in 2020. I truly can’t,  I give every credit in the world to any parent out there because I don’t know how you guys are doing this. I don’t know how you’re homeschooling and trying to work a job and supporting your families and building a business, I don’t know how anyone is doing that all at the same time. I give you so much credit because I can’t imagine having to deal with all of that. But we still have to live in the present moment and accept that this is the reality that we are currently in. So how can we find ways to appreciate these moments? are certain plans on hold? Absolutely. For all of us, all of us have things, there are people that have had to delay weddings, vacations and there’s so many different things I could go on all day. The events that were supposed to happen so many things are certain plans on hold Absolutely. But what can we focus on to make the most of right now? And finding that gratitude for parts of your life that you can hang on to right now? As opposed to thinking, I’ll be grateful when x happens. All we have is the current moment. So this was a reminder as much to me, as it is for anyone listening that, you know, our lives are not on hold. Life is still continuing to move on with or without us. It’s more a matter of are we going to keep up? Are we going to appreciate it while it’s actually happening, as opposed to thinking that we’re somehow going to wake up in the middle of 2021 and everything will be fine. That’s not how this works. And I think that we will be able to all look back on this situation with hopefully, some lessons that we maybe wouldn’t have learned if it wasn’t for these particular set of circumstances, and that those lessons will hopefully serve us later on, too. So this is just really an encouragement to focus on the present moment as much as possible because your life is not on hold. Your life is going to keep going. And it’s going to pass you by if you don’t focus on the present moment. And again, I am the first one to admit this is why I did this episode was because I have been really struggling with this so I wanted to put it out there because I thought, you know, maybe somebody else is dealing with this as well and kind of struggling with these feelings of sensing as though your life is on hold, but life is not hold. Life is just not looking exactly the way you potentially wanted to look right now. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily ideal. But it can also mean that there’s all kinds of really great things that could be happening right now around you, or could come from this time that you can look back on and be like, yeah, I’m glad I didn’t miss that. Okay, so let me know what you think. Send this to somebody who might need to hear it. It means the absolute world to me when you guys share on social media, if you’re listening and you would be able to share, take a screenshot, share it and tag me over @emilygoughcoach on Instagram, I would be so grateful. I always just love connecting with anybody in the DMS as well, too. Thank you for listening because it just means the absolute world to me. So thank you so much, and we’ll be back on Tuesday. 

Questions?  Comments? Want to connect and chat about this episode? You can email me at, or DM me over on Instagram @emilygoughcoach or Facebook at Emily Gough Coaching.  I would absolutely love to connect with you and thank you for listening in real life and here any takeaways you had from this or other episodes!.  It makes me day to see you listening to the podcast and fills me up with pure joy. Seriously.  See you on the ‘gram!

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