Why is it that we spend so much time stuck in the past or fixated on the future? Why is it that we dissect decisions we have made and obsessively orchestrate future plans? Why is it that we daydream about childhood and ask ourselves where we will be in ten years? Why do we ponder who we once were and who we will one day be? Why do we spend so little time and energy and thought on the present moment? Why can't we stop, take inventory of our surroundings, the work-in-progress that is life, and realize that this, here, now, is it?
I don't know. But I do it too. I do it all the time. I flash back to soggy soccer fields in high school, to late nights of witty booze-soaked banter in college, to the sparkling uncertainty of my law school days. I relive those big fairy tale days; my wedding, the births of my girls. Or, I squint hard and picture the future, a rainbow tapestry of ponytails and smiles and best-sellers and brazen love. But for whatever reason, I rarely, all too rarely stop and look around and realize all that I have. Here. Now. The hilarious chaos, the furious flux, the robust love. Why do we hone in on what we don't have rather than celebrating what we do have? Why the fascination with absence over bounty? Why the consummate focus on yesterday and tomorrow instead of reverence for today?
There was something about this weekend that woke me up. My family of four and Mom spent two nights with Husband's parents. There were no elaborate plans, no restaurant outings or zoo trips. There were predictable frustrations, torrential rain, brutal traffic, stints of sleeplessness and showerlessness. But, mostly there was good food and good conversation. Mostly, there was sunshine and storms and stories and laughter. Mostly, there was family. And somehow, away from my home, cushioned between two generations of family, I was able to do it. I was able to stop. To soak it all up. To celebrate the precarious present moment.
And then on the car trip home, I was able to do it again. Instead of complaining about the pint-sized rental, or the bouts of traffic, I sat there, squeezed between two car seats. I turned back and forth between Toddler and Baby, each who needed me, and all of me. I wiped away tears and tickled armpits and made stuffed animals dance. I sang silly songs and told simple stories and made crazy faces. Every now and then, the backseat noise would abate and I would hear Husband and Mom talking about memories or politics or family. And through these snippets, music would float toward me. And one song struck me. Dido's "Look No Further." Through the noise, I tried hard to focus on the words. And after having Husband play it over and over, I got it. I looked around at the life, the luggage, the legacy. At the toys and soda cans and diapers. At the fuzzy pink butterfly sticker on my t-shirt and the crusted carrots on Baby's cheeks. At Toddler's sweaty curls and long lashes. At the man I love communing with the woman who brought me here. And I did it. I smiled. Caught in the rain, hostage on the highway, occupying neither here nor there, I got it. Momentarily, blissfully blind to all those yesterdays in my wake and all those tomorrows on the horizon, I finally got it. This is it. My today. And what a good today it is.
i might have been a singer who sailed around the world a gambler who wins millions and spent it all on girls
i might have been a poet who walked upon the moon a scientist whod tell the world id discovered something new
i might have loved a king and been the one to end a war a criminal who drinks champagne and never could be caught
but among your books, among your clothes among your noise and fuss, ive let it go
i can stop and catch my breath and look no further for happiness i will not turn cos my heart has found its home
everyone ill never meet and the friends i wont now make the adventures that there could have been and the risks ill never take
but among your books and among your clothes among your noise and fuss, ive let it go
i can stop and catch my breath and look no further for happiness and i will not turn again cos my heart has found its home