Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life Is Wonderful - oh yes it is

The Royal Wedding has come and gone along with another one of my birthdays. 

It is so true what they say, that old "in the blink of an eye" - but like everything else you never believe what you are told until you see it for yourself, at least that's the way it works for me.  I've been seeing it lately in the bathroom mirror, in the especially harsh light of a Monday morning after a restless and failed Excedrin PM nights sleep. 

Time is like a long distance marathon, an Olympic event, it feels like it will go on and on, like you have all the time in the world to train, to practice, to work out.  During the race you seem to be keeping pace, have your timing strategy all planned out, when all of a sudden, Father Time, like Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter and three time World and Gold Medalist, whips by you, without warning, leaving you to wonder how in the world he caught up to you so fast, passing you by and leaving you dusty and in a state of disbelief.

With every year that goes by I always say I will try harder next time. "By this time next year I will ..."  sort of like those many failed New Year's resolutions.  The only resolution I am going to make, ever again in my life, is to never make resolutions again.  I intend to appreciate the good and bad of living. While the celebration of birthdays is always something to look forward to, even if just to appreciate that you've managed to survive on the planet this long, we should be celebrating being alive everyday.  I found that yesterday on my birthday, cleaning out my closets and snacking on Baked Lay's can be just as pleasurable as a fine dining experience at the French Laundry in Yountville.  It is just a matter of attitude. Attitude and good music. Whenever I feel myself starting to sink down, even a little, I can squelch it if I want to. All I have to do is put on music, something like Jason Mraz (and Toca) to perk me right back up and realize how silly it is that I would even waste another minute fretting about things that will either resolve themselves shortly or things I just plain can't do anything about.

But I'll admit, at times it can be damn hard to do. We all start feeling a bit ragged and rough around the edges and truthfully it is necessary to have a good cry, to feel a bit sorry for ourselves, to feel sad, to feel uneasy, to hurt. The challenge here is to appreciate that we get to feel these things. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to spend this many years here on earth, with my friends and family.  It makes me look at each year as an honor instead of an "oh my God, I am getting so old!"  Even though I tend to say and think that every now and again, it is something I plan to work on, to eradicate from my thoughts and vocabulary.

So I am making not a resolution, but a simple plan.  I am starting with the month of May. Just for this month I am going to make a point to savour every minute, and if that doesn't work, at least to consciously appreciate a part of each day.  Then after a month hopefully it will naturally roll over into June, then July and then into my forever. One thing I know for sure, nothing is more consistent than the ticking of time, there are no time outs, no do overs, no pause button.  I want to make a point of being present, paying attention to all the ordinary (and usually most splendid) of things, like my morning cup of coffee, the sound of my daughter's voice, the flowers blooming out my front door, the fresh clean smell of my just washed laundry, opening the windows in the morning and hearing the birds sing, a hug from a loved one, coming home from the store and putting all the groceries away.  I want to make time to return phone calls, answer emails, visit friends, take my vitamins, wash my face at night, and remember to smile.  Whether I want to or not.  I am going to smile. Louis Armstrong sang that "when you're smiling,, the whole world smiles with you."  And that has to be a wonderful way to live.

Mainly, I want to appreciate and enjoy my life before I hear myself saying what Sidonie Gabrielle Colette is quoted as saying;
"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner" -

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