Friday, June 16, 2006

On being alive...

I like to think that somewhere in my ramblings, someone might find something profound. Maybe an angle on life they hadn't considered or inspiration to try something they've never done before. I think that courage and ability is within us all, it's just a matter of finding it and nurturing it that prevents us from being what we can be.

My first problem with someone finding something meaningful in what I have to say is... someone has to hear it and with my "readership," I have to admit that I'd better get on being profound because I have a limited audience.

However, my goal here isn't just to be profound for others. It's to better understand myself and where my life takes me. Because if you need to know one thing about me it's that I fly by the seat of my pants. It's just recently that I've put any effort into goals or working toward attaining them.

Sounds odd, doesn't it. Here I am, a computer programmer working for a pretty darned good company, and I'm just starting with the goals. It's true though. I guess there's just a lot of things I never thought about - like education. I had to go get an education and I figured I might as well like what I do so I applied for programs that fit my interests. From there, I fell into a scholarship and went that way, rather than following any big dream to be a geek.

Yet, I'm happy where I am. Ecstatic, really. Which brings me to being alive (better get back to my point).

There are people who live life, yet are never truly alive. They wander through life, plotting and planning, yet missing out on the little things. Sure, it's silly to get excited over a used, destroyed chair. It's silly to get excited over paint colours and the new colours of osteospermum as well.

If we start to think we should only get excited about the big things in life, we stop living life and start simply seeking the next big thing. We wander through our days without seeing or learning because we feel there's nothing big enough to see or learn today.

And quite frankly, I can't afford the big things. Ok, so I've got the whole Vegas thing. yep, that's big. And last year there was that Nova Scotia thing. All right, all right, I've had some big things. But if I had to wait 6 months for the next big thing in my life, I'd go nuts.

I'd rather live for today. I don't want to wake up retired and realize I forgot what roses even smell like. Ha, speaking of roses... or flowers in general. I know a lot of people think that flowers are a waste. They just end up dead and thrown away.

So do a lot of things. Chocolates just get eaten - although one could argue they're there forever on the hips... cards end up in a box in a storage room. most of the gifts we give one another as an expression of love end up gone. They're short lived. Perhaps that indicates the short-lived nature of relationships.

Or maybe it's the realization that some gifts aren't meant to be permanent in their current state. The permanence they have is in memories. While I can't go back in time to the camping trips with my family, I have the memories. Dad catching a clam, Grandpa silently reeling in fish while the rest of us jumped announced every little nibble on the end of our lines. A squirrel stealing my peanut butter oreos... the list goes on. And when I think back to that time, it feels great.

It's so easy to get caught up in life and the future that suddenly you've missed out on a lot of little opportunities. And with those opportunities go the memories.

Should I get excited about every little thing? Well... no. And I don't. I mean, I don't run into the grocery store and yell "wooooo hoooo grocery shopping!" Although I might get home and curl up on the couch and say "woo hoo, Cherry Garcia ice cream!"

I do get excited about the small things. It's easy to get caught up in the rest of your life. Assuming everything will be there tomorrow. That next week you can get around to painting. Next month you can try kayaking. Maybe in 5 years you'll get to the caribbean. In 10, you might get to Thailand. Next summer you'll do that Mother/Daughter trip to the spa. In a couple years you'll take a vacation with your spouse.

But what if there isn't a tomorrow. Or a next week. What if while you're waiting for the right moment to be with your loved ones... your loved ones move on.

My ex told me once that he wouldn't golf in his company tournament with me because he figured he'd spend the rest of his life with me so he didnt need to spend that day with me. I'm still not sure when the rest of his life started, but while he was waiting for that, I was falling out of love with him. Now he is searching for someone else to spend the "rest of his life" with.

Meanwhile, I was waiting for the right time to travel. The right time to paint the house, the right time to try something new, or make new friends. I missed out on a lot of opportunities - like getting into competitive curling. I was waiting for the right time to live.

Tomorrow I may be gone, or you may be gone. Parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents. None of them are permanent in our lives. Not even children. Ask a parent who has lost a child or even watched their children deal with illness about the permanence of life.

So, yeah. I live my life emotionally. I may be impulsive and excitable, but I won't miss out on an opportunity because it isn't "the right time." That right time may never come. I've already missed out on enough. I'm not content to wait for the rest of my life. I'm living it.


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