Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honour him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” – Ecclesiastes 12:1
And there it is.
Another year over and done. And what a year it’s been!
I am on the last stretch of my Christmas holiday break, and the time with no routine and no job stresses or pressures has been magnificently refreshing… Just having space to think, relax, create, get out into the wild and – i’m finding this is a big one for me – not be in a rush! has done wonders for my soul. To the point where the imminent immersion back into the realm of spreadsheets and deadlines and reports and data and responding to others’ priorities is not making much of a case for itself.
BUT, I am learning more and more to be content with what I have, when I have it; it’s so easy to waste the moments we have actually been given right now by constantly focussing on the next thing, the next job, the next holiday, the next iPhone, the next social media app… the things we think we can’t do without in this crazy, busy generation. I’m learning that a lot of the time, the most fulfilling things are usually right in front of me, present in what make up the moments and chapters of my ordinary life. They’re less about having or possessing, and more about enjoying. Acknowledging and recognising. Receiving. Like seeing the admirable qualities in a fellow human being, rather than the not-so-admirable ones; a conversation with a friend that fills the missing piece in your soul; sitting in silence together with someone you love and watching a sunset. Kindness that covers another’s mistake; unspoken intimacy, the brilliance of blue sky above a gleeful, white-capped ocean; sunshine on my skin. The wind gently brushing through salty hair on a hot summer’s day, cooling. Wildflowers sprinkled in an open field. The sparkle in another’s eyes as they’re passionately describing something they love. Food on the table. A home to live in. Money to pay the rent. A husband that loves me. Family that can make me laugh until I cry. Savouring an amazing meal with friends… such moments you cannot buy or sell, or recreate with virtual reality. The older I become, the more I am realising that being present in the here and now is what actually gives life it’s true richness. When I was a teenager, I dreamed of the day I wouldn’t be – when I could be independent and enjoy the freedoms all the adults seemed to exercise. And then suddenly – boom! – childhood was gone. I inherited the golden mantle of adulthood I had so eagerly longed for, and what a revelation that was. I remember having a moment of realisation one day – probably as I stood staring at a jumble of accumulating responsibilities – and the thought hit me: ‘this is what being an adult really means.’ Responsibility and discipline. (I still have moments like that now, at 25 years of age, which I’m sure will continue as each stage of life unfolds ha.) Oh, how I love you glorious responsibility!
So, that transition didn’t exactly play out as I’d maybe thought it would. But I did learn a couple lessons from it that have been so valuable to me ever since:
1. To value the present, glean all I can from it and not take it for granted
2. To form expectations in life based upon wise and experienced counsel
*Disclaimer: I don’t want you to think adulthood is all doom and gloom. I genuinely love the life I get to live. This is just one experience I used to illustrate my point because the majority of us can probably relate to it; I don’t know everything, but I do know that a lot of life’s maturing process consists of owning up to responsibility, which is not always the most exhilarating experience. But it’s one of those things that must be done. And it’s true – reality can sometimes be hard to come to terms with when what we thought were valid, exciting expectations actually turn out to be unrealistic ideals. But the good news is, if you can emerge from these sorts of things with a deepened resolve to keep growing and learning, life can be lived with the greatest purpose and significance. I honestly believe that if you genuinely realise what you have, however little it might be – and the fact that there is always someone worse off than yourself, that success always comes with a level of sacrifice, no matter how glamorous it may look on the surface – life will be so much more rewarding and fulfilling with what you have. Sometimes its just a matter of perspective.
But back to my Christmas break. The whole thing of enjoying what I have, when I have it applies to this too. It has been one of the most refreshing breaks I’ve had this year, because I feel like I really have made the most of every moment, and been present in every moment. It’s given me lots of time just to think, and reflect. The ironic thing is that I made it all the way to this blog post without letting thoughts of returning to work mar it for me… … … … I guess i’m still on the journey! And just to clarify – I don’t dislike my job, I am extremely thankful for it. But it’s never easy transitioning back into a regimented and busy schedule after having had a free one for a whole week, with time to create and reflect and dream. At least for me it isn’t. The creative space that only free time can sometimes lend is hard to let go of willingly, and who settles into such bliss without growing accustomed to having it? I will mourn the loss for sure… but my job has its designated purpose. Perspective, I think I said earlier? – changes things.
Speaking of reflective moods, and not taking a season for granted, that is what I wanted to do precisely in this post – share some of the things I have learned and gleaned from the incredible year that 2015 was, which I am very thankful for. But I feel like that will now need to wait until the next post because I took too long running down a rabbit trail of thought. What’s more, my husband has made incredible vegetable nachos for dinner – the spices are mingling in the air – a candle is flickering merrily on the coffee table, the crickets are softly chorusing outside, and a peaceful silence has descended over our neighbourhood.
Time to enjoy the moment. 🙂
Here’s to a blessed new year!