Some people spend their days walking through their lives living every moment within a haze. They get up and shower, shove some food down their throats, run out the door and plod through their work day. Then when the day is done they might grab a drink, head home, toss a Hungryman in the microwave and plop down in front of Angry Housewives before heading to bed and sleeping until they start again the next day.
God that scares the shit out of me.
Note: If I ever end up that way please kick me in the ass, head, or other various bodily part.
I have seen too many people doing exactly that with their lives, which truly equates to doing "nothing" with their lives. At least, it's nothing if there is no enjoyment within it.
I have set myself a few rules for my life over the years:
The first is about stressing over things. It's pretty simple: If there is absolutely nothing I can do to affect the outcome of something, then it is of absolutely no use for me to stress over it. All I end up doing is stressing myself for no reason.
The second is probably just as if not even more important: Enjoy everything you can.
Ok, I know this might sound a little (or a lot) hedonistic, but I don't mean it in the sense that I need to go out and bed everything that moves. Rather, I mean that I want to enjoy everything I do, be it watching a play, reading a book, or even just something as simple as holding someone's hand.
One example of this is cooking. For those of you who truly know me, you know that I have a difficult time sharing my kitchen. That is, I love sharing the product of my kitchen, but it is difficult for me to be out of it. My mother was a wonderful cook (I know, everybody says this...) and she was adventurous in what she did. More importantly, she showed me how to work in the kitchen. I watched her prepare meals and I learned by her example. Now when I am in the kitchen I will find myself stopping and thinking of her at some of the oddest of times. Just tonight I was making spaghetti sauce and it brought her back to me. But the point is not about her, but rather the joy I learned from her when I am cooking. To prepare a meal for someone and then have them enjoy it makes my day.
Oh, and then there is driving. I love to drive. More importantly, I love to drive with the windows down. (Ok, nobody make jokes about how I love how my hair blows in the breeze....) I do love the feel of the wind. On a dry day I will hang my arm out the window and enjoy the feeling of 60 mph winds with all the glass rolled down. And on a day of downpours I can enjoy the stinging numbness that comes with the water. And of course the zen moment of truly feeling that you are part of the car. There is this moment where you know you are part of this 2000 pound machine and it responds to your every whim. Gotta love that. (Somewhere in the background Tim Allen is making grunting noises, I know it.)
If am walking I love to go uphill where I can feel my quads lifting. When I read a book, I try to really put myself into the part of the character to really get what the author was trying to convey (which, admittedly can be a bit awkward when the main charachter is a seventeen year old girl, or a 63 year old grandmother of 19. but still...). When I am exploring a new neighborhood I want to be lost so I can truly find my way home.
Oh, and speaking of which, I love when my brain is able to complete more of its mental map of a place. There is such a strange geeky rush I get when I suddenly go, "Holy shit, I know exactly where I am now!" in a place that I have rarely ever traveled.
Basically, I try to understand the moments as they come to me. All you have to do is look at the obvious, and then see the things which most people miss. Look closer. Find the unique experience in everything you do. It might just be the feel of the fabric of your bedsheets just after they have been washed and then put on the bed while still warm. It might be sound of tiny rocks and broken pieces of shell on the beach as the water pushes them back and forth with waves. It might even be the smell of the sap of a Douglas fir that you catch in the air as you are cleaning up your yard after a windy night. Whatever it is, savor it. Drink up the moments. Live each one instead of simply letting them pass you by. Enjoy the feel of the skin of your loved one's cheek. That's my rule to myself.
Even now I have found myself practicing this rule. I have been enjoying the thoughts that have been going through my head as I write this. Good memories have surfaced and I feel just a bit lighter. Maybe I've got something here. Maybe I'm doing something right.