Keeping it simple & enjoying the ride

Kathleen - Potland, Oregon
Entered on September 23, 2007

My mantra: enjoy right now and keep it simple. Not always easily achieved but ever the goal. The times I’ve been happiest in my life I’ve managed to get pretty close.

When I was training for a marathon several years ago I was struggling through the training, doing it only so I could cross the finish line. One day I was on a long run and started looking around at all the beautiful trees and noticing how fresh the air smelled and realized then and there that it’s about enjoying the ride, the entire way, that makes crossing that finish line worthwhile and meaningful. So, from then on, I focused on appreciating the scenery around me on my runs, or the conversation with my running partner, or anything for that matter. Even how I felt when I went to bed: that great sore feeling that helps you sleep so well. Don’t get me wrong, there was pain: blisters, sore muscles, the feeling that I couldn’t run another mile, but I was learning to appreciate the simple things and enjoy the ride.

On a recent Sunday night my boyfriend and I were watching 60 minutes and cooking dinner. I was so happy & so appreciative that I felt that way, and it was all so simple: being with someone I love in the comforts of home watching 60 minutes from the other room, cooking and sipping a glass of wine. I felt like crying because I felt so lucky to be so happy. These are the moments that make life so wonderful, yet they are few and far between for most of us.

It is something that I remind myself about from time to time, and every time I do I realize I’m off the mark: thinking about the weekend or an upcoming trip, forgetting to enjoy right now on a Wednesday at 2:30. Or complicating things by making plans to do too much, buying things I don’t need or just plain worrying.

I was reminded again recently about my mantra when I got a call that a friend’s partner had died suddenly of a heart attack at the young age of 47. When I talked to my friend about it the following day, she said that she felt so blessed to spend the time that she had with him and has no regrets. She talked about how they enjoyed breakfast together every morning after a walk or run and every day they talked to each other about how much they loved each other and how fortunate they felt to be together. And she talked about how happy they were when he died. They had such a sincere appreciation for their time together and the simplicity of it all and that provided her with so much comfort.

I think James Taylor said it best: the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.