I know this has been said in so many different ways by many people, definitely much more eloquently than I’m about to do, but I found myself thinking of this fact a few times this week and I think it’s worth every reminder. So here’s a little reminder for us: This is it! This right now, whatever is happening right this second, is your life…YOUR LIFE! Your one precious, precious life. And by “this”, I mean ALL of it.
This week I had kind of a long “To-Do List.” And I caught myself having this just-get-through-it feeling. A feeling like there was this magical land on the other side of it where everything would be done. Now to be honest, since I’m a teacher, next week is spring break and that is a kind of magical land, but we won’t dwell too long on that for any non-teacher readers. (It’s GLORIOUS! Sorry, folks.) Anyway, as I was saying, I have this feeling sometimes too when my list of things to do isn’t all that long and I don’t have a vacation on the horizon. It’s goes a little something like this: just get through the workout, through the work day, just make it to the weekend, through this busy month, just get to summer, it’ll be better when such and such happens. I sometimes notice this underlying feeling that if I can just get through something, I’ll get to this point where all is smooth sailing and in perfect balance and not so busy and full of free time. But that’s not going to happen. And that’s not even the point. All that stuff we say makes us so busy, all the stuff we don’t want to do, all the good and the bad, the little stuff too, that stuff is the point. That stuff is life!
Years back I had a realization about this kind of thinking when it hit me how often people are counting down the time until Friday, myself included. I realized that what I’m actually counting down and wishing away… is my life. It struck me as a little morbid and depressing at first, but once I realized it in that way, I mean I knew it before, but it just hit me in a more significant way one day and it pumped so much more life into my life. I need to remind myself often, because I can easily fall back into that pattern of thinking. I think most people do, because let’s face it, “ALL of it” isn’t fun, plenty of it doesn’t feel good, most of it doesn’t go the way we daydream about. There are big events that mark the significance of our lives, when we maybe pause and take a few breaths to savor the moment and to do it with our best intentions – holidays, graduations, weddings, babies being born, vacations. But how often do we bring significance to the daily things that are also our lives?
When I’m in the classroom there are big “Aha!” moments when a kid really understands a concept and growing happens right before my eyes or something emotional occurs that nearly brings me to tears. And those times really feel like “This is it! This is why I became a teacher.” But there are also lots of mundane moments or things I just don’t want to do – tying shoes, sharpening pencils, solving an argument. When I can remind myself that this, too, is “IT,” I can feel the life more, work become more effortless. The same happens outside of work. There are big moments that feel important just by themselves – watching the first sunrise of the year, witnessing my brother get married, holding my friend’s newborn baby. Those things get my attention and feel full of life all by themselves. But what is also my life, is – dinner by myself, packing lunch, vacuuming, every sunrise, paying bills, driving somewhere, my car breaking down, every workout. I could go on and on and on. But I just wanted to remind myself: Pay attention! This! This too. . . This is it!