This I Believe

Rita - Greenvile, North Carolina
Entered on July 25, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy makin’ other plans.”

I believe in the joy of mere moments. I have also come to believe that wonder and joy are fundamentally inseparable. The capacity to be amazed with the mundane aspects of life is what keeps your perspective fresh and your creativity alive. It’s too easy to get blindfolded by routine.

Do you ever find yourself just going through the motions? You do what’s necessary, without paying any particular attention. There is presence of body but not mind. Waiting for something to be over or anticipating the next phase to begin, is simply wishing your life away. Unless you have made a conscious effort to be in the moment, your much-anticipated next phase will be as uninspiring as the last.

Remember your last vacation to someplace new? Every color is vibrant; every sound exciting; every aroma tantalizing; every flavor an explosion. Have you ever noticed that the air feels different when you’re on holiday? It all becomes part of an exotic tapestry. Maybe it’s because you are acutely aware, it ain’t the same old thing. Every moment becomes a mental postcard to yourself,

“Dear self

Wish you were here”

And you are there –in the moment. ENJOY. Your entire life is merely moments. Thrust your hand high and announce, “I’m present!” every day.

I often wonder if the local people at your vacation destination are as acutely aware of those sights and sounds creating your vacation paradise; or are they just going through the motions, like you do at home. Those magnificent sensations are still there, but we become immune to them. I grew up in Niagara Falls (a tourist destination if ever there was one.) We avoided the Falls like the plague, making detours around the tourist areas. Yeah, we took that splendor for granted. Now, that I live so far away I miss it terribly. My office at work has become a shrine to Niagara Falls. But surprise of surprises, I’ve learned to appreciate the fields and pine trees of North Carolina. It is beautiful in its own way.

Perhaps the very young and the old have a less fettered view of life. The sense of wonder is less shrouded by the everyday tasks, that otherwise seem so important. The laser sharp focus of a task-oriented person may achieve goals, but misses almost everything else. Perhaps we need to throw off the cloak of predictability and expose ourselves to the risks of a little fun. Pick a bouquet of buttercups. Build a snowman. Swing at the park. If we can be amused by the little things in our lives, we can never be bored. Childhood is the freedom to do silly things for the fun of it and learn something from the experience. Society has tried to take that freedom away simply because we become an adult. I think I’m looking forward to my second childhood.

Maybe I’ll start it now.