February 16, 2020
Life is more than the designer moments If we treat each moment as an end in itself.
We like movies that reflect designer moments. The hero, though smaller, wins the fight with the proverbial Goliath and rescues the heroin seconds before she will fall off a cliff. We want those moments.
We pray for our team to win, or for all the lights to turn green when we’re late for a meeting — neither happens. We wait for the love of our lives but end up missing them because they don’t come with the right wrapping paper or the ribbon color is wrong. We get the perfect job, but three months later the company folds.
Life doesn’t cater to our whims.
The powers that be do not spend all their time making sure the minutia in my life is taken care of to my satisfaction.
Much of what life hands us is pretty random. I know lots and lots of beautiful people who could use a break but don’t seem to get many of those. Just because we exercise and eat well, doesn’t mean we don’t get sick.
What are we supposed to make of that? Of the reality that the luck of the draw isn’t always handing us what we want? Yet we still have this life, and we need to live it in a way that we won’t look back in angst because we blew it.
Writer, creator of “The Work,” and New Age philosopher Byron Katie said one of my favorite things: “We only do three things in life: we sit, we stand, we lie horizontal. The rest is just a story.”
The quality of our lives is not determined by how or where we sit, stand, or lie horizontal. We think if we had more money, beauty, or skills, we would finally be happy. Here’s what Alain de Botton in The School of Life says about that: “Our problem is not one of means but of perspective. We rarely stop to focus on the pleasures that already lie within our grasp.”
I am 70 and having what feels like the best time of my life.
Every morning I can’t wait to get up and start writing, hopefully creating that blog post that goes viral. Hasn’t happened yet. Then I shift to an afternoon of seeing clients, each of whom adds to me, and I hope, in some form, I return that gift.
I have the gifts of laughter, tears, entertainment, and companionship that new love and old friends offer.
In spite of these blessings, on most days, nothing stands out as exceptional or better than the day before. But every single day, when I pause long enough to feel the riches that surround me, I am surprised that, yet again, this day feels like the best day of my life.
Instead of waiting for riches, good looks, or anything other than what we have, what if we treat each moment as an end in itself, handling each precious experience that life hands us as though it were our last? Might that one change make each moment a designer moment?
Would we make different choices and meet life with arms open a little wider? In Blessed with a Brain Tumor, Will Pye says, “Of course, failure is inevitable, yet the endeavor of life generates many magic moments.”
Yes, meeting life and embracing all of it with open arms is pretty scary when I take it seriously. It’s easy to love the ones who love us and to embrace the stuff wrapped up with rainbows and ribbons.
But embracing all of it sounds daunting. Runny noses, annoying neighbors, lost phones, flat tires, stolen purses, tumor diagnoses, stubbed toes, rejecting friends, being chosen last for the team, again — and even embracing my resistance — that too — seems almost impossible.
I’m not trivializing any of it. But think about this — the reality is if we don’t embrace it, we still have it. And our resistance to having it makes it worse. It seems to be a law of nature that whatever I put a lot of attention on resisting will get worse, or at least feel worse.
When we make our peace with what life hands us, we can’t help but free up creative energy that might put us in a better position to respond with some love and a little intelligent imagination to whatever life hands us.
Imagine your life surrounded by people who are trying to do the same thing — making the most of every moment, doing as little damage as possible to the environment, to each other, and themselves. All the while enjoying the ride with the wonder and awe it deserves. As long as we’re above ground and drawing breath, we get to play a role in making that happen.