You know how grandma always lets you get away with more than they ever let mom or dad get away with? You know how mom or dad always gets upset and says “you’d NEVER have let me do that. Why do you let them?” and usually grandma says something like “I guess I’m just older now.” with now real explanation beyond age. Well I think I’ve hit that age. The difference is, I think I can explain it, at least a little.
Looking back I wish I had experienced more and reacted less. I wish I had laughed more and yelled less. I wish I could have seen through more experienced eyes. I look back and wondered how many times I hollered when I didn’t need to. I wonder how many times I should have enjoyed the fleeting moment with my little ones but instead I over-reacted. I wonder how many times I thought I was teaching a life lesson when I was missing out on a precious memory.
And this goes not only for my children in the past but for my friends, my animals, and my husband. How many times have I gotten angry when really it wasn’t going to make a difference over the course of time? How many times have I over-reacted when I could have been enjoying a fleeting moment that I’ve now missed out on?
I try now to stop and listen first before speaking and then choose my words wisely.
I try to really hear my husband. Is he expressing a need I am missing? Is he trying to be funny and I’m too busy with preoccupying thoughts to notice? I try to really enjoy the little moments with my husband, my friends, my animals, and even strangers, instead of being too caught up in my own space to see them.
Like yesterday, I was upset about something but out walking my dog while I thought it over. All of the sudden a really big pine cone hit the ground nearby. I looked up and it had fallen around 30 feet from high up in a tree. I didn’t think much of it, I’ve seen it happen before. Apparently, though I didn’t think much of it, my dog was quite concerned and curious. She pulled me over to investigate. Still pre-occupied with other thoughts I let her pull me forward.
At first I didn’t really pay much attention, as I had other thoughts racing in my head. Slowly I realized what she was doing. She was rear end in the air, nose to the ground, slowly sniffing the item and then jumping back like it was going to attack her.
I watched as she did this over and over. Slowly I began to smile and then laugh. I watched as my other thoughts melted away and I just enjoyed the moment with her. Eventually I went over and knelt down by her. I turned the pine cone over and showed her it wasn’t alive. She sniffed it again and then finally seemed satisfied to walk away.
This little event got me thinking about how often we forget to enjoy the moment with those whom we care about, how often our own pre-occupations are stealing our moments of joy or memories in the making.
We never know how many tomorrows any of us has. This alone makes it so worthwhile to enjoy the fleeting few moments that we DO have. But there are other reasons. We ALL wish to be happier. Learning to enjoy the little moments, to be present in the now, to really listen and to really see, can increase our happiness by so much. Personally I sure don’t like having regrets. Learning to appreciated these little moments instead of over-reacting or being stuck someplace else can surely lessen the regrets I will have in the future.
I know I’m not perfect and there will be times I will still miss a moment, I’ll still over-react, I’ll still be pre-occupied with the past, but I’m trying. I’m making it a mission in my life to remain more aware of these moments and to cherish them. I’m doing my best to let go of the emotional reactions to that which has passed. In this way I am better able to learn from that past and still be here in the now.
Every day presents me with new opportunities to practice this. Sometimes I stumble and that’s alright because I’ve already learned how to forgive myself and keep trying.