Sunday, May 24, 2015

Gratitude and Living in the Moment

My stupid cat just climbed up on my lap, and as I was petting him I realized I was smiling, which made me smile more.

It’s Sunday morning. I spent the first part of the morning drawing out on my porch, listening to my iPod and drinking coffee. It was perfect.

When I first got this apartment three years ago, it was the Sunday mornings when I had that quiet time to sit on the porch in the sunshine that I began to fully be aware of how much I enjoyed what I have. My daughters would be with their fathers, and I would be alone. I could get up when I wanted to, wear what I wanted (or didn’t want) to wear. Just walking barefoot through my kitchen to my coffee pot was fun and new. And then I’d grab my notebook and go out onto the porch and write. I could go back into the kitchen to refill my coffee and see things that I had to take care of and instead of stressing that I should do them, I would smile at the thought of having stuff to have to take care of. Then I’d go back on the porch and not give them another thought.

And I appreciated that I finally found mornings enjoyable (at least one). I’m a night owl, and always was. I never thought I could find that type of peace during the morning hours.

It is definitely the little things that make me happy, and I look for them everywhere. Stolen moments like this are always the best. Although, technically, isn’t every good moment stolen? We always have something to do, and it’s when we make the choice not to do a ‘have-to’ that we find we are in the middle of our own spontaneity and are actually happy. Sometimes, that choice is made for us by every little thing we let get to us and we just stop and … stop.

Remember that line from Risky Business? “Sometimes you just gotta say, ‘What the fuck.’”

I’ve had many moments like that, but now I’m making them a little more consciously - and before I get to that point of needing to take a break.

And in the middle of that time I take for me, that time I actually make for myself (sometimes even planned in advance), I actually find myself smiling. Like now.

I have –and have always had – so much to be grateful for. I have so many of those moments, stolen or planned, that still make me smile when I look back on them.

I remember one day when I was in high school and I was sitting at the bus station waiting for the bus to Boston. I wasn’t having a very good day (I think I was depressed all through high school) and I saw a classmate there and she and I just started talking. It was one of those random moments; we didn’t hang out together and only saw each other as much as we did in school because our last names began with the same letter.  But I will never forget that day, that one isolated moment, when I was actually in that moment.

(Aren’t those conversations the best?)

So many moments with my friends, whether it’s someone I’ve spent regular time with or not. When you are all of a sudden aware that you are having a good time or at least content with the moment, even when circumstances may not be the way you want them to be.

--Is it wrong now in the midst of my gratitude that after the sixth interruption from my daughter while I write this I frustratedly think, “I will be so grateful when she leaves!”?

We all need time for ourselves, by ourselves or otherwise. It keeps us grounded and a little saner than we would be otherwise. We need to be spontaneous, or just let things happen. We need to be, not do. We need to really notice and acknowledge the good.

What special moments I’ve had, driving in my car alone late at night with the music blasting, or driving with a friend (music on, top down) in the sun, not talking, just feeling the wind in my hair and feeling that right then, everything is right. And then, of course, talking with my friends – even when they’re giving me the kick in the ass I need – because I feel their love and support. Dancing off steam in my kitchen; a quiet drive or moment just sitting holding hands with someone, knees touching; or an impromptu, just-what-I-needed dance with another friend in their kitchen after spending a sad day at a funeral for someone special. Waking up and being surprised to find breakfast on my nightstand from my daughter for no reason (yes, the one I’m waiting for to leave the house now). Listening to either of my girls humming or singing contentedly when they are involved in their own activity. Spending time doing nothing with my youngest daughter when she just looks up at me and tells me how happy she is to be with me.

– she has been my strongest example of how to live in the moment. She who will stop whatever she is doing just to throw her arms out wide and yell, “I LOVE this!” She always takes the time to declare her happiness with whatever she is doing.

(In case my other daughter is reading this, and pissed that I couldn’t wait for her to leave: You were my lesson in exploring, and finding the wonder in the new.)

Pennies add up to dollars; moments add up to real time. Take the moments when you can. Be aware of them. Notice when you smile. Share your smiles. Smile at strangers; it costs nothing and you may really help their day. Breathe. Hear the music. Dance. Live. Recognize the newness of each moment.

Ferris Bueller said it right, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I’m making sure to pay better attention. That fucking cat just flexed his claws in my leg, but I'm still smiling.