By Lance D. Smith
These are the good ole days, I am sure of it! Right now and each one after that are the good ole days. I remember the exact moment I discovered this phenomenon!
I was living in Mississippi and just graduated college. Looking back on those times, I have great memories. I had just married the most beautiful person I know and was embarking on a promising new career. We owned several beautiful horses, recently purchased two new vehicles (one was a 5.0 Mustang GT, that brought out the kid in me).
But when I was actually living it I was stressed to the max! Only in my memories and hindsight allow me to enjoy those times. Call me strange, but I don’t think I am the only one who this has happened to.
During those times, I was preoccupied with the daily stress that robs us all. I am not a morning person and my new career required I had to be mentally sharp, bright eyed, and ready to roll when all the normal people of the world slept. I was tired. I had new bills to pay, a new wife and life, and contemplated relentlessly with the numerous possibilities about my future.
I dwelled on the next payday, quitting time, and stressed in my career that I would make an error and accidentally kill somebody. I lived for bedtime, sleep, weekends, and vacations, riding my horse or in the Mustang, but rarely lived for “where I was at the moment.”
As you can begin to see, living like this can seduce someone to resent their lives and where they are most of the time.
I am not complaining and I realize this pales in comparison to what others have gone through in their lives. It was a time in my life without any “real” problems or catastrophes. But that is my point. Life was good, looking back. Why couldn’t I enjoy it while it was happening?
The answer. I focused on the future and ignored the present moment and my life suffered for it. I reduced my moments to something I had to endure to get me through to the next big thing.
To add insult to injury, when the “next big thing” finally arrived, I didn’t enjoy it either! I had built it up in my mind so much that it rarely lived up to my expectations! I was imprisoned behind invisible walls I set up that cut me off from any real joy in my life. I was rarely happy!
Thank God I woke up! I remember the exact moment I got out of this quagmire. It was one summer day on the lake. I had a new twenty-one foot Bay Liner ski boat. It was sweet and real nice and, oh well never mind all of that. Anyway, we planned all week to go to the lake on this day.
Me and my wife and several friends loaded in the boat and got out on the water. As usual, I was not having a great time or enjoying myself! This particular day, I don’t recall if I was upset because the wind was too high, the waves too rough, too many boats on the water, a rain coming, or someone was doing something that caused concern for their personal safety.
My wife tilted up her sunglasses and looked over at me from the passengers seat.
She asked, “What is wrong with you? What is the point in coming out here if you don’t enjoy it? I wish you would chill out.”
She dropped her sunglasses back over her eyes, sat back in her seat and put her feet upon the dash. She rubbed Hawaiian tropic on her legs, looked over and shot me a quick smile. Then she laid back to soak up all the sun she could. Everything thing in her day was going great, except for me!
I sat back in my seat and slumped underneath the steering wheel of the boat. If I had smoked, this was the time to light up. The truth and honesty of her question struck me to the core. I was mad and wanted to justify all the reasons I was so frustrated.
But as I sat there, withholding comment for the first time in my life, I realized she was right! I deserve to be happy! I am on the lake and spent good money to be here! I looked forward to this all week long! I was off work! I had a great boat! I had good health and good friends and a wife who loves me. This is the good times and I am missing it!
It was that moment I began to make a conscious decision about my life. From then on, I wanted moments in my life to simply occur. I was weary and tired of battling them.
Now, years later, when I am doing something as simple as pouring or drinking a cup of coffee, I want to be there and enjoy it fully while I am doing it, not afterward.
accept the moment and not insist on what you think it should or shouldn’t be,
you open yourself up to clearer choices, joy, and peace. Otherwise, denying or
resenting the moment cuts us off from our real lives.
I have small children. One day, all too soon, I wont. You can bet I have allowed myself to enjoy those little feet pitter-pattering through the house.
I have a great wife, good life, great health, a wonderful family and friends. Thank God I can see that now, not after it is too late.
Plan for the future and learn from the past. But live and come alive today, right here, right now.
"You must live in the present, launch yourself
on every wave, and find your eternity in each moment." - Henry David
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