We Don’t Always Notice

poetry

There seems to be no time,
no time for what we need.
It’s gone so quickly and we don’t always notice until
the end comes into view.

There are days that stretch,
and weeks that never existed.
The moments are in our grasp, if only
we could catch them more often.

 

This week, I watched an old Showtime series called Time of Death, which follows a handful of people who are diagnosed with a terminal illness in some of their final days. You might wonder why I would put myself through something so sad, but it spoke to me on a number of levels. There are thoughts that run through my head about life and death, which are nothing new, but being a former Jehovah’s Witness, I was raised with a concept that I had a hope for everlasting life on this earth. I wasn’t afraid of death, I thought I knew what was going to happen until well into my 30s when I had what I like to call The Epiphany. Everlasting life may seem like a ridiculous concept, but when you are brought up with only the knowledge of something so powerful ingrained in your mind, it can be a bit tragic to lose. That Epiphany was the shatter point of everything that I ever thought I knew about life and death and, to this day, I am still rebuilding my belief system.

As a function of the above, and I suppose as well as being a woman approaching her mid-40s, one thing that has become all too clear is that life is so much shorter than I had ever realized. Yet, even with this knowledge planted firmly in my head, it’s still easy to let the days get away from me. Before bed last night, I was reading Austin Kleon’s book Keep Going, and at one point he references the movie Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray’s character is trapped in an endless cycle of reliving the same day over and over again. I was reminded that this is sometimes what our days can feel like, even when we create beautiful routines that bring us joy, many times when looking back everything seems to just run together, leaving us wondering where it all went and questioning how we can change it.

A few years ago, I wrote a piece once on incorporating more memorable moments into our days in order to make time seem more expansive. This isn’t a new concept and it definitely works, but I realize now that it’s about so much more than just adding new adventures and twists to our daily lives. It’s about getting out of your own head and paying attention to even the mundane moments. Many of us tend to be so focused on either what’s happened in the past or worrying about what is to come, that we miss out on what is happening right now. For instance, if you spend any time walking outside, are you stuck in what is going on in your headphones, or in the thoughts about what you have to do the rest of the day? Or, are you focusing on how the pavement feels beneath your feet as they pad across the ground? How about that tree on the corner, have you ever paid attention to the intricacy of the veining in its leaves or how the branches move with the breeze? What about the subtle warmth of the sunlight on your arms? Do you feel that?

It takes work to notice the present and I am currently making every effort to live in that space. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but as long as I remind myself to pay attention when I wake up each morning, I sense a deeper connection being built with the beauty of this life – of catching hold of the moments that I have.

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