Friday, November 8

"I wish I had let myself enjoy life more."

Christmas Dinner
   Sometimes you can see the look; sometimes you can even feel the emotion quietly pulsing from those under its spell. It’s a look so serene and peaceful, so utterly detached and removed, that it makes you feel rather grounded in comparison. As you watch them, their eyes filled with tenderness and an almost unearthliness, it’s almost as though you’re intruding on something intimate, and yet completely natural.
   So what is it then? What is the look that comes upon a person watching a small, newborn child twitch his fingers for the first time? What is the look that comes upon a young girl as she stands in the glistening rain? What is the look that clears away the wrinkles of an old man as he gazes out over the glittering waters of a pine enclosed lake? What is that look people get as they connect to the small things in life, the precious things. Is it empathy? Is it love? Or is just nature’s way of interlacing with our souls, and showing us how beautiful the world is?
The look we get and the feelings that radiate from us; It’s a way of reflecting the peace and beauty of this world through the emotions and eyes of another. So why then, isn’t everyone's face adorned with that blissfully enraptured look of detachment? Why hasn't everyone fall under nature’s spell perpetually?
   In the commotion of this new age, with the endless electronic devices, booming music, enticing dramas, intriguing books, laughter, friends, family, parties, school, and just life in general, we become so wrapped up in the beating rhythm of it all that we forget the beautiful things that nature has to offer us. When was the last time you went outside, just for the sake of breathing in the air? Listening to the birds? Feeling the warm sun spill across your skin?
 I don’t know about you but with the tumultuously infinite tasks, projects, relationships, education, hobbies, volunteering, and work I feel I’m drowning in each day, going outside for such an unproductive reason seems ludicrous. I just don’t have the time, or really even the desire to do something with so little accountable results.
   There is the thought process is one of the largest undermining flaws of Americans today. I believe that my impression on the insignificance of enjoying life is probably reflected by a rather large majority of the population. Why is this such a huge issue? Because when it all comes down to it, eventually you’re going to break. How long can you keep on struggling to your feet after the panic attacks, sheering off your nails as anxiety twists in your gut, and skipping meals so that you can cram another three hours of science before the midterm that day.
   We immerse ourselves in the rush of deadlines, technology, and friendships and all the while we grow further and further away from the ability to think creatively, feel tender emotions, and even appreciate the rain on an autumn day. We pressure ourselves to do so much growing up, maturing, even man-ing up, that we forget that those insecure, loving, and creative feelings are what make us human.
   In retrospect of a recent experience, I was out with some friends at a park doing some star gazing with telescopes. As I drifted a little ways off from the group I suddenly noticed where I was. You must be wondering what I mean by that, because surely it would have been apparent to me that I was standing in the middle of a place which could clearly be identified as a park. When I say I noticed where I was I'm not talking literally, I'm talking emotions, thought, senses. There was a small pond to the left of me, with a small flock of geese drifting through the water. The sun was beginning to fall behind the stretches of green grass framing the crests of the hills. As I looked around it hit me that this was the first time in an incredibly long time that I really felt like I was there. The grass under me was slightly moist from the sprinklers which must have turned on earlier that evening. The sky above me was lit in shocking hues of sherbert orange and pink, folded over by the glittering black of the night sky. All that time I had stood there, and yet noticed none of that. It was as though I was so wrapped up in what was going on in my head, that even though I knew I was in a park, I couldn’t really see it. I couldn’t see how beautiful it was. And as it hit me, I really have to admit I felt sad. I felt sad because I could remember not too long ago, a time when I was much younger and quite a bit more imaginative, the first thing I would have noticed was this. It wouldn’t have been the voices of my friends, or the repeating list of things I needed to do for the day. It wouldn’t even have been the conversations, the talk, the exhibits. What I would have noticed first would have been how beautiful that place was, and how it made me feel. At what point had this film, craftily created and spun by the combined efforts of myself and the world, been places over my eyes? When had I stopped seeing the little things, and focused more on the bigger things that were of less importance. When did I stop caring about being happy? When had I stopped loving the way the leaves changed colors in autumn? Or how the rain poured from the sky and bounced off the Christmas trees adorned in small merry lights garnishing the houses in winter. Or the way the sun shone across the cascading waters of the beach during summer, or even how the flowers blossomed in brimming heaps in spring. When did I stop feeling. When had this become so unimportant?
   This hot wave of life is suffocating our ability to feel, as well as see. No wonder so many of us suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, nightmares, insomnia, and so many other things. We ignore the simple fact that this life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.
So stop. Freeze. Look for the first time since you got here. What are you trying to become in this mess of tangled arrangements and anxious deadlines? Breathe. Open your eyes and see what’s around you. Take that ten minutes off just to go outside and walk around, enjoy this world. Push away the electronics that constantly scream for attention, push away the piles of unfinished work –you can always come back to it. Put down the people who make you feel like trash, and clear your mind.
   Once you appreciate the small things, once you look at how truly beautiful they are, then this world bursts into life. What was once black and white blossoms into shades of red, blue, green, and lilac purple. Everything has meaning, everything gives you the ability to grow and change.


When you come to the end of your life, don’t let there be that looming remorse hovering over you. Don’t let yourself regret, “I wish I had let myself enjoy life more. I wish I had gone out to see how beautiful everything is." Don't let it be to late to go back and change it.

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