Maybe it has something to do with being middle-aged. (I’m 53 and, no, I did not have a melt-down when I turned 50. Rather the contrary — I was jazzed as hell.) I find that the older I get, the more inclined I am to appreciate the small things that come my way.
Oh, make no mistake, I enjoy the huge pleasures as much as the next person, (vacations to far-away places tops my list), but there is something calming in looking for — and finding — the not-so-grandiose enjoyments to be discovered.
It’s not a question of lowering my standards or expectations, merely a willingness to step back, slow down, and look beyond the societal yammer for MOREBIGGERBETTERFASTERNOW!!!!
(Then again, I’ve never been one to crave those things. I own a push lawnmower and a rake instead of a riding mower and a leaf-blower. My turntable (remember those? For records?) and receiver are 30+ years old. Yes, I have a cell phone, a computer, and a DVD player, but the rest of my life is fairly simple by comparison.
Some would call it boring; bland. There are those who cannot comprehend living without the latest gadget or download or thumping bass. Ah, well. To each their own.
I’m a dinosaur, I guess, and happy to be one. I try to keep up with all the changes out there, all the programs I can access to help me write faster, get my books out there, blog and interconnect and chat and on and on and on until my brain spins. There’s so much available that one person cannot possibly do it all and still have a life away from the screen (a thought that would be heresy to some). I always feel more than half behind in the technological race.
In his wonderful comic strip “Bloom County,” artist Berke Breathed often had his penguin alter-ego Opus take a dandelion break. Whenever he felt overwhelmed by the world, Opus would go outside to the dandelion patch and lie on his back in the sun amid the flowers. No noise. No movies. No flash and boom and clatter. No electricity.
Just him and the world.
It’s not a bad way to gain perspective.
So I will take myself away from the screen and the desk and the house and give some time to Life, to watch the ocean and smell the brine, to observe wild turkeys as they cross my neighbor’s back yard, and watch a Cooper’s hawk feed under our tree where it just killed some unsuspecting songbird. I will lay in the snow or the grass and feel the sun and rain on my face and the awesome thump of the Earth’s heart against my back.
And, if I am wise, I will feel grateful.