We’re too Quixotic

If nothing stays the same in life, why do we believe or hope that things will remain the same? We know that we will grow older and that one day our parents will pass. Friends we had in high school will grow up and move away. Still we expect that our friends will always be there and we’ll be young forever.

Why not abandon the idea that we know what’s going to happen next? Treat every moment like it’s your last. When you walk into a room, know that it may be the last time you step foot through those doors. Appreciate the experiences you have. Inevitably there will be a time when you will never return. There will be a last time. Take a moment to really experience what you have now.

Sometimes our expectations ruin what could be great experiences. When you hug your friend, you expect that it will happen again in the future. When you kiss your lover at the end of the day, you believe that it will happen again and again. But one day it won’t. You’ll hug your friend goodbye and that will be it. You’ll have a last kiss with your lover, but we don’t know when it will be. It’s impossible to know.

Appreciate what you have while you have it. That means really let that hug sink in. Kiss deeply and passionately. Listen to your coworkers even if it’s been a long day, you don’t know if you’ll have the chance again. You don’t know if you’ll walk into this room again. Everything ends. Love while you can.

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“Dude, just enjoy”

As a writer, I’m often guilty of pouring out words and labeling my life. Instead of relaxing, taking in the moment, I’m fantasizing about some far away place. It’s easy to write about these fantasies and dreams because our minds can create such beautiful possibilities. What is truly difficult, however, is living in the moment, whether good or bad, and taking it all in.

On Facebook, a person commented on a photo of mine with “enjoy”. What they probably meant was “I enjoy this” but they didn’t finish the thought. Instead of letting it go, I responded with a question mark. The comment seemed unusual and I wanted to know what they meant.

Almost immediately another friend responded with, “Dude, just enjoy”. It’s taken about a year to realize the true meaning of this.

While I was walking down the beach earlier today, I thought about it and was lead back to the word “enjoy”. It’s a simple two syllable word that we throw around and occasionally hear when we order food or go to the movies. We think of it like, “here’s your ice cream, enjoy!”. Essentially it has lost its meaning because of how often we use it.

What does “enjoy” really mean? It’s when you appreciate the world around you and the situation that you’re in. It means that you’re living in the moment and loving what is happening to you. More than anything, it’s the acceptance of life in its rawest form: you’re letting the world in. You’re truly feeling the taste of the ice cream or the sand on your feet.

Later that day I went out with some friends who got really drunk. The police were involved and it’s a long story that I’ll write about tomorrow. When we were sitting down with the cops, after about an hour, I remembered “enjoy”. Our situation was horrible and we would be up staying late that night, but I accepted it as part of my life. I took “enjoy” and just appreciated the moment for what it was.

In retrospect, it’s the small moments in each day that form our lives. Sleeping late on Sunday may seem meaningless but after a month, maybe you’ll appreciate stretching in bed and laying around. After a year, you may look back and remember those days when you could lounge around the house. Those are the moments that create a life. We look back and see the bliss.

What value is as of that if you didn’t actively “enjoy” those moments? Think back to the last time you thought to yourself “Wow, I’m having a good time” or “I really enjoy this”. Chances are you’ll remember a few moments but they will be few and far between. We don’t appreciate life at its core, only in the ‘grand’ moments. But life isn’t built on these moments, we don’t have them often enough to call them common.

Life is built on making oatmeal everyday for breakfast, or the long commute to work. It’s built on working in the heat and coming home covered in grease. These are the moments that populate our lives and keep our days filled until we go to bed. They are the first breaths after waking and feeling of exhaustion after a long day’s work.

“Enjoy” is a reminder that we need to take a breath and enjoy the moment. If we don’t take in the world and relax, life will pass us by. We were too busy thinking about our next action, or what could be, that we lose sight what is happening around us. When you’re on the side of the road with a group of cops and a group of drunk friends – “enjoy”. When you’re craving pizza and you finally get a slice – “enjoy”. Don’t question it, if you do, you’ve missed the moment. It all boils down to; “Dude, just enjoy”.

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Death and Dying

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries and reading a lot of books on happiness. It’s definitely an interesting subject because the whole topic is relative to each person. You may have a horrible event happen to you and recover in half the time that I would.

One of the most interesting subjects that I’ve been reading about lately is from His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s book “Advice on Dying”. It follows a prominent meditation from Tibet on dying. It involves imagining everything in your life dying. That means all of your friends, family, loved ones, and everyone you would ever meet.

However, the meditation isn’t filled with sadness, it’s focused on acceptance. Accepting that everything that arises must end, and that includes yourself. Understanding your own mortality in extremely important because if you understand that your time is limited, you’re less likely to waste it.

Too often we think that everything that’s going on now will last forever. We think that all of our family will remain in good health, our animals with stay with us, and our favorable job will last forever. When we become adapt to having these things but don’t understand that they aren’t permanent, we bring a great suffering on ourselves.

That is why it is important to meditate on death and dying. Accepting that everything ends is a way to avoid the suffering somewhat. It’s a way to appreciate what you already have. It’s a way to bring greater happiness on yourself.

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