Kids today aren't much different than they've ever been. They chant the universal song of their people, "When I grow up ..." and they proceed to rush headlong into things above their age, missing the blessings of just living in the here and now.
With eyes on the future, they play games that determine the first name of their husband or wife, the type of house they'll live in, what they will drive and how much money they'll make. What they don't take into account is the heartbreak of broken relationships, the mortgage payment, the car insurance and the lay-offs. Trying to talk to them is futile. If we ever really shared what adulthood is like, in all its vivid splendor, they would run outside and play hide and seek from the world.
I guess, in some ways, it's the same for adults. We are always so busy anticipating that next thing: the raise, the promotion, the retirement, the grandkids that we don't appreciate what is right in front of us.
I guess we need to learn to stop and smell the roses before we can instill that in our children. So stop reading this and close your eyes. Use your senses to appreciate this single moment in time when all is well:
Take a deep sniff
What do you smell? Dinner cooking? Clean laundry? Your husband's aftershave? Your wife's hair? Copier toner? Any one of those means you have food to eat, clothes to wear, someone special in your life or a job. That's awesome.
Take a good look
Open your eyes. What do you see? Leaves turning brilliant hues? People doing their job? Kid's toys piled everywhere? Laundry hanging on the line? This article on a computer screen or a smart phone? Wow! You've got eyesight, a job, children who are healthy and play hard, nature's putting on her best finery to show off for you, and some pretty nifty technology.
Have a feel
Are you comfortably warm from the blustery autumn winds blowing in winter snows? Are you wearing a soft, comfy sweater? Do you feel the compliant nature of a keyboard taking you on a virtual adventure? Is there someone sitting next to you making you feel loved and cozy? Life is pretty darn good.
Shhhhh ... just listen
Do you hear rugrats playing? Classical music? A loved one breathing? The wind howling? The fire crackling? I Love Lucy in the background? A siren whisking someone to the hospital? Birds singing? A cat purring on your lap? What a lovely world we live in.
Take a nibble
Walk to your refrigerator or cupboard. Open it up. Stick your finger in a jar of peanut butter. Pick a couple of grapes and pop them in your mouth and feel the sweet juice run down your throat. Pop some popcorn and feel the warmth in your fingers. Smell the buttery saltiness, and then taste the satisfying flavor. Open a carton of juice and take a swig. Yum, life is delicious.
Close your eyes once more and use that prolific imagination of yours and try to imagine a place and time more perfect than the moment you're in. This is good. This time. This place. Enjoy!
This is my challenge, which I am undertaking myself. Choose to love this moment you are in. The place you live. These people in your life. These meager creature comforts that surround you. For 24 hours, live in the moment. Don't think about what tomorrow will bring. Don't worry about bills or obligations or time constraints. Love them, instead. For just one single day, live every moment as if it was our last. Look, listen, smell, taste, feel and imagine.
Don't tell anyone you are doing this little experiment. Keep it all to yourself, with one exception. Write it all down in a journal. If you don't have one, grab a spiral notebook or some printer paper. It doesn't matter. Just write down your experiences as they happen. Log your momentary gratitudes. Vividly describe every sensation. At the end of your day and your entries, conclude with these two words. Thank you.
When you wake up the next morning, read it out loud to yourself. Then read it out loud to your family and share with them your experiment. Express to them your gratitude and then challenge them with the same experiment.
We almost need to re-program ourselves and this is a good start to do that. Learn to just be. Everything today moves at supersonic speed with technology changing with the blink of an eye and everyone scrambling to get to the top and have the best of everything. Stop. Appreciate. Love. Teach your children to do the same.
We need to run through the details of this reprogramming and have them try it. We also need to impress upon them the joy of not moving so fast. Instead of watching the clock in their classrooms, challenge them to really listen to the teacher. Instead of being fidgety on the school bus, relax and look out the window at the glorious world around them. Have them describe what dinner will be just by smelling from another room.
We are soon enough gone from this world. It is just a blip on the screen. We need to enjoy every single moment of it instead of trying to rush through every phase of it. And mostly, we need to give this gift to our children.