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All Good Things Must Come to an End, But…

Sometimes I really feel like I did myself a big disservice by telling myself not to enjoy the present because it’s always due to shift. I still remember that time when I was about seven. My family and a friend were at the park, and the sun was setting, and for what seemed like the first time, I was able to enjoy sitting in the grass without worrying about bugs crawling on me. The blanket I was laying on was so soft, and it felt great to rest out under the sky for a little while. The air was transitioning into full blown summer, and I couldn’t help but get excited at what was to come. And in all that, it hit me. This had to end. At some point, I’d have to get up, fold the blanket up, gather any toys I’d brought along with me, then follow my parents back to the car and go home. Something about that felt oddly devastating, and I remember feeling desperate, wishing badly that there was some way I could at least make it last longer, until I’d had my fill of the moment I was enjoying. I blurted out to my sister, “I wish this didn’t have to end, and we didn’t have to go home. Like we could freeze this moment and things could stay like this”. She echoed my sentiment. “Yeah, and then we wouldn’t have to go to school or go to sleep or anything”. I kept thinking about the fact that no matter how much I wanted to stay here, this would have to end. It made me extremely sad, and I remember that as the moment when I began focusing intensely on what was to come, because trying to enjoy the present seemed impossible knowing it was doomed to morph into less pleasant times and circumstances. That’s not to say that falling into the future didn’t have other benefits, like helping me to escape the present when negative experiences came or I was just feeling lousy about the current state of things. But recently I’m realizing how much I don’t allow myself to enjoy the present, and often it’s only after the good times have passed that I allow myself to realize that they actually were good. When I’m actually having a good time, too often I get preoccupied with what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, if there’s a better way to use my time, and so many other things, that there’s no space for enjoyment to ever fully manifest. By this point, sometimes I wonder if I’ve damned myself to only enjoying life after so much of it has already passed me by.
Well, I want out of that damnation. That starts with being present. Present with the things my eyes see, not what my mind’s eye imagines. Present with the breath in my lungs, the sounds in my ears, the sensations on my skin. Present with what I’m feeling right now, and those feelings that are worth feeling, not those that drain energy and direct my attention elsewhere, like worrying about how I’m doing what I’m doing, even if all I’m doing is existing. I’m one of those people who lives a lot in my head, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy that aspect about myself. But I think I’m ready to see that change, because part of why I live in my head so much is because of what I’m avoiding outside of it. And by avoiding the bad, I’m also keeping out the good. Good things like simply allowing myself to be happy for being.