Some mornings I make my way down to the river near my home and I just sit for five minutes and ponder. Clearing my head of the rush and the craziness of the morning before I set off for work, I love to take in the stillness of the water and just be in that very moment. It is my five minutes where I am not preparing my child for school, or myself for work, nor am I answering phone calls or checking mail or fighting the traffic or listening to music. It is my five minutes to just be.
This morning during my five minutes I noticed an elderly man walking his dog. He approached me on the footpath, stopped to call his dog, turned and smiled warmly at me, then went on his way. A few things went through my head as I was watching him – who is he and where did he come from? Where is he going? Is he happy, what stories could he share with me if we sat down for an hour? What are his regrets, his joys, his loves? I often watch elderly folks and I find myself curiously wondering what they could share about their lifetime.
Life brings with it is so many challenges, once we move past one challenge another fills its place. In between the challenges we have joys and accomplishments, we have moments that will create our favourite and most treasured memories. Our days are made up of millions of moments, some of the smallest ones will be the ones we will remember and cherish for the rest of our days. With all its complexities life brings with it so many miracles that we will one day look back on with joy in our hearts and a smile on our face. Today this gentleman had the most genuinely happy smile, he seemed content. After everything we go through will the moment walking the dog by the river on a cold winter morning where you smile at a stranger and mean it be the moment you look forward to all your life? A moment of contentment, a moment of solitude and peace.
Is he content? I have no idea, but I like to think so. I look at elderly people and often imagine they are content. I don’t imagine I would like to look back in 30 years from now and still be worrying about what someone thought of me way back when, or remember the anxiety I felt over a job or money or something someone said that offended me at the time. So this makes me wonder, why worry about those things now? Why would I waste time feeling anxious about something I cannot change or control? Why would I stay in a situation I am unhappy in? Every choice I make is mine, where I am right now is where I want to be, where I have found myself through choices I myself have made. The frustrating drivers who can’t merge on the freeway every morning won’t be significant in any way in 30 years from now, neither will the friend who treated me badly or the person who cut me off and took my car bay in the shopping centre carpark, so why now? Why do we allow such seemingly insignificant incidents and people affect us in moments when we could instead be enjoying the very things that actually mean something to us, the very things that warm our soul and make our hearts happy? This has been my thought process for some time now, and I love the result. I don’t sweat the small stuff, I am more focused on the good stuff and my days are much more enjoyable for it.
In 30 years from now when I am walking the dog by the river on a cold winter morning and I turn to smile at a young lass who is sitting and enjoying her five minutes, I hope she sees how content I am.