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Lankard: On being 'intentionally present'

…and they lived happily ever after, so reads the fairy tale. I am sorry to say that is just a fairy tale.

American comedian and actress Gildna Radner said it best. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Without realizing it, many folks are waiting for another day to be happy. They are sure they will be happy when life gets easier, they get healthier, or when they find a better paying job, live in a bigger house or find the man or woman of their dreams.

I have lived long enough to understand life gets interrupted with the unexpected. It is easy in the dark days after an unexpected tragedy, to find ourselves waiting for tomorrow to be happy, but what if “tomorrow” doesn’t come? Or what if it looks much different from what we’d expected?

During this new year of 2020, I invite you to join me in being intentionally present to each day — and to the people and the circumstances that come our way. Embrace it, see it, hear it, taste it, whether it be it an ordinary day, a day filled with joy or a day of sadness and sorrow.

Let’s live life — not just watch it go by.

Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at