Thursday, February 7, 2013
Are You Doing Enough With Your Life?
Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough with your life?
There are times when I think I should be doing more. Oh, I can pile on the activities…laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, appointments, working, hanging out in coffee shops with a good book or my laptop, going to the dog park (with Ralph…I don’t go there alone), trying new restaurants, going to movies, galleries, museums, boutiques, or painting, cooking, writing, etc. There is no end to the mostly enjoyable things I can do to pass the time.
But as I get older, I sometimes wonder if I’m filling my days with a flurry of activities to avoid the void. What is “the void?” It’s that uncomfortable feeling that my glass is more than half empty. I’ve come to the unpleasant realization that, realistically, some dreams just can’t come true.
When I was nineteen, I had a lot of dreams. I also thought I had all the time in the world to do the things I wanted to do. And I did. But now that I’m approaching the autumn of life, time has become a precious commodity, not to be squandered.
Don’t get me wrong…I’ve accomplished quite a bit in my sixty one years. I have an amazing daughter, graduated from college with honors, and have a decent and rewarding career. I have great relationships with family and friends. I’ve traveled extensively, and well…I’ve had a really interesting life. Still, lately I feel the urge to use my time more wisely…to decide which pastimes are worth my time, and which ones are a waste of time. Which dreams do I pursue, and which ones do I finally let go?
I could bore you with details of my hopes and fears, and of the pain of letting go of dreams that will never come true. But I won’t do that, because dwelling on the past makes living in the moment impossible. And living in the moment is really the only way to enjoy life. The past is in the past. And the future? Who knows?
I still have dreams and aspirations. Young people don’t expect people over a certain age to have dreams and aspirations. It’s like they think we’ve reached the pinnacle, and now it’s just a matter of coasting down the other side of the hill into…what? Complacency? Obscurity? Comfortable numb-ness? Well, I’m not ready to go there. I have things to do, and I don’t even know what some of those things are yet.
I do know that, the more I learn about life, the more I realize there is so much more to learn. Dorothy Parker said, “curiosity is the cure for boredom…there is no cure for curiosity.” And I’m still curious. I think the key is knowing the difference between idle pastimes to fill a void, and rich, satisfying experiences that deepen the meaning of life.
The truth is, it’s not all about me. Quelle horreur! No really, I have a lot of fun exploring the world on my own, but in the end, it will be the love and laughter and connections with others that I will remember most fondly. Time spent with my family, playing with my grandchildren, road trips with my boyfriend, dinner and a movie with friends, chatting with the old guys at the coffee shop, discussing art with strangers in the museum, watching Ralph run with the pack at the dog park like a proud mom…those are the things that make life juicy. And the journey continues…
Posted by Carol McNeill at 8:21 PM