Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Today, I thought about an aspect of my life. I was watching a program about high school students that followed them through four years, and I noticed how often they said as seniors that they were looking forward to something ahead, to being done, to moving on. I realized how much I have done that myself. Whenever I came close to the end of something, I began looking toward the next phase of my life. In high school, I ignored too many of the chances to see friends at the end of school because I was heading off on a trip overseas for two weeks. When I left my first college, I quit trying to succeed and just did my best to pass so I could get to the summer job I had worked so hard to line up. When I was graduating from college, I spent a lot of time looking ahead towards my new life in the working world and didn't try to see my friends much, instead choosing to pack up and head off with my family for a simple lunch. When I was headed back to grad school, I moved up two weeks early just so I could get away from where I was to transition to where I was headed. At the end of grad school, I was planning a wedding, a cross-country move, and I was focused on finishing and going instead of being in the moment.

So often, I have missed the moment for the sake of whatever was next. Perhaps that is why I found myself so disconnected with some of my old classmates I had felt were friends, because I had already disengaged from my relationships with them before leaving school. Did they sense it? Did it even matter to most of them? Am I an outsider in my own life story, never more than a role player in someone else's? Am I so concerned with the future to never take pleasure in where I am now?

So many questions crossed my mind, all just from seeing a silly television show. And yet, those questions resonate in my mind. I do need to appreciate my life in the moment more. I do need to quit trying to get "there" as fast as possible, since "there" will forever be the carrot dangled before me. I need to stop and smell the roses. I probably need to start with my own family. I have a wonderful wife and children, and our lives are flying by. Have I missed some chance to bond with them because of my need to move forward? I hope not, but I cannot say. I just hope and pray I do better to find those moments and enjoy them from now on. I just have to take my foot off the gas a little more.

-- Robert


Julie Pippert said...

This was intriguing...such a lot to ponder, so much insight.

I was just talking to someone who was discussing her new approach of not trying to cram 10lbs of stuff into a 5 lb bag.

Same sort of ideas, in a way.

Robert said...

I can empathize with that perspective, but probably wouldn't choose it because packing things has always been a skill of mine. I do have a habit of speeding on the road, and thus I chose my analogy because it really is how I maneuver. I fly through life, especially when something new approaches. Then close to the end of that thing, I fly through it to the next. Maybe I'm not in the moment because too many of my moments are fairly dull. My children are far from dull, though, and I hope I'm not speeding through their lives. Thanks for the comment.

Gwen said...

It's a good goal, to enjoy the now instead of rushing for the next thing, but it sure is hard to do.

le35 said...

Looking forward to things is one of my favorite parts of life. Where's the balance between enjoying now and planning ahead? I hope that I can learn to do both.

Robert said...

You're right, Gwen, it is hard to do. And Ellie is right, too. There's a balance to be found, and so far I'm not sure I've ever really found it. It's just so nice to focus on what is coming up - the sense of new, of excitement, of the unknown - as opposed to what is here and now. One of the most disappointing things I've ever experienced was a cancelled flight. The first time it happened, I was completely blind-sided. I was so used to the feeling of "Ah, I've checked in, now I'm through security, next I'll be in the sky heading somewhere new." that suddenly hearing "This flight has been cancelled" truly shocked me. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I dealt with it enough within a short time span that I no longer expect a flight to take off on time (or at all) until I'm in the air.

Melissa said...

Reminds me of something that oh-so-wise Yoda said, can't find the exact quote, but the jist of it was that some people spend to much time looking to the future and not paying attention to the here and now. I try to think of that when I'm making all of my grand plans.

A wise creature Yoda is.

Robert said...

Do, or do not, there is no try. I remember a girl that graduated after me from high school using that in her valedictory speech. Maybe I'll have to look up Yoda quotes to find the one you're referring to.