HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

June 25, 2007

Look around and enjoy life

It seems that after you graduate high school, you step onto one of those “turbo boosters” in a video game – those things that are arrow- shaped and fast forward your character – that catapult you into your future at a rate that you didn’t expect, all the while enjoying the ride.

But when you finally land and slow down, and you look at the things around you, where you are, you cannot believe that time could have traveled that quickly without you knowing it, right?

This topic was hard to write about, it was so humbling to really admit that – HEY, I’m still 20 and yes, I don’t understand everything – at all.

This came clear to me recently.

My sister snapped at me the other day and said something to me about how I only know what’s going on in my life.

This remark started to make me think about things, about how as humans, we can naturally become very self-centered, and not necessarily in the negative connotation of that term, but it is a natural tendency to know more about your life than others.

It’s so easy to get enveloped in your life and your busy schedule, that you can often develop tunnel vision as to what is going on around you.

You may be aware of when your next meeting is, or when your term paper is due, or what kid needs to be where and when, but it’s sometimes hard to take a look at a bigger picture.

It’s natural to know what is going on in your life, because that is who we are with all day long – ourselves, constantly evaluating how each situation effects us personally.

The difficult part is really finding a balance to that, to knowing how you are in social settings – but also recognizing the other shoes in that situation, and they could be receiving the same information with a completely different message.

This all came to my mind the other day when driving to work, this realization that life has felt like a race lately.

I was rushing to work and I was traveling behind someone who chose not to go the speed limit. I was initially consumed by anger – I couldn’t understand why someone could read a sign and choose to ignore it and make ME late – I couldn’t understand it.

But, then I thought about it further, about how I would give anything to want to drive that slow on this road. I realized that it’s not always the destination, the goals, but it’s the soaking up of the road that takes you there that matters.

If you continue to go through life at a rate that is too fast, it’s going to just jump straight to the arriving, and dissolve your experience of actually getting there.

Life starts out pretty simple. We are taught in elementary school that two plus two equals four, but as time goes by, we learn more things to help make our lives easier or more efficient, to save us time. So we move onto multiplication, two times two equals four.

But as this path progresses, and time goes by, life becomes more and more complex, like a math problem.

You start out simple, and you learn new, efficient ways to get to the answer; however, the ways are much more compound.

And with each new piece of knowledge you add to the complexity and speed of life – you know you can still use mere addition to arrive at four, but sometimes you feel you have to avoid the simplicity, and go with what is quick and right now, to get the task done and out of the way.

This is where we become self-centered, because it’s easy.

So how do I avoid biting comments from my sister that point out that the world doesn’t revolve around my schedule?

I don’t think I can, but I do think that we can become more aware of the pace of our lives, and the people we are connected to.

We are constantly surrounded by people every day, some familiar, some strangers. If we took the time to recognize how we are connected, because we are in the same time and same place, we might realize that every situation is being experienced by each person.

We would know how to become people-centered, and less focused on our own schedules.

Who knows, maybe life wouldn’t go by so quickly if we stopped and looked around once in awhile?