I often heard my mother discuss the fact that she felt time was going more quickly as she aged. I often thought it couldn’t go quick enough. But then I was young and rarely reflected on the fact that we are not here on a permanent basis. Lately I find myself connecting to many of my mothers’ statements especially the ones around how life seems to whoosh by with each passing year. It seems that I just had Thanksgiving dinner and now it’s here again. How did that happen? And Christmas is just around the corner. Of course it’s not easy to forget either holiday since the media relentlessly feeds us their ads to buy, buy, buy starting in late August. Christmas decorations are already up and we haven’t even cleared the Thanksgiving dinner. Black Friday is closing in on us, but now there’s some stores that will be open at 9Pm Thanksgiving night in case you have an obsessive need to go to a store and leave your guests in the living room. Forget hanging out and reflecting on the day’s gathering. It’s much better to think about what you’ll be going to purchase while you’re chewing on a drumstick. We have turned life into a constant need to access the future without living in the present. This shift in how our culture lives their lives creates a great deal of stress My mother and her generation seemed to savor each holiday without feeling obligated to discuss the one coming. I have talked to many people about this phenomenon and it may be time to reflect on spending more time honoring the moments we’re in rather than anticipating or dreading the ones that are coming. This is not an easy practice in a society that has come to value “doing” rather than “being”. However, perhaps the gift you may want to access this season is reminding yourself throughout the day to just breathe. When you’re stressed out you breathe more rapidly. The simple act of inhaling and exhaling slowly and purposefully allows you to be aware of the present moment. Every moment that we honor with a deep breath allows us to feel more peaceful by helping to quell the inner critics that never stop reminding us of “what’s next”.Try it when you’re at the Thanksgiving dinner table and Aunt Hattie tells you the turkey is dry, or when you’re lying in bed worried about how you’re going to get all your shopping done, or in dozens of stressful situations that pass and soon become part of the tapestry of life. Just breathe!
I have always been a little stymied by individuals who declare their bored. I grew up as an only child with a family that was always doing something! I think I mentioned that I was bored once and my mother decided I should be occupied by cleaning the house. Her response to me was “I’ll give your bored”! Needless to say, I never said it again. There are so many wonderful things to do that can make life rich and succulent, that my biggest regret is that I don’t have enough time on the planet to do them all. More importantly, our mind, body and spirit need to be challenged or injected with enthusiasm and passion on a regular basis. If we don’t invest in exploring the vast opportunities this journey affords us we are leaving ourselves open to resembling a dry, withered river bed. I like to walk my talk, and so several years ago, I began going to a nearby recording studio to do some singing. I didn’t tell anyone, since I’ve found over my lifetime that most people are so afraid to try anything new that they will often try to protect you from what they perceive could be a bad idea by trying to dissuade you. “Why do you want to do that”?, often becomes standard feedback, instead of “Great, go for it”! Since I have never been one to follow the path of least resistance, I persevered. Initially, I sounded more like Ethel Merman, who was a Broadway diva with a bodacious voice. As time went my instructor encouraged me to find a softer voice and viola one day it came out. I also believe in “serendipity”. Four years ago, I met my partner Kenny, who is an extraordinary jazz musician. I decided that we should make a CD with jazz standards that I felt spoke to our relationship. It was a long, and tedious journey. Recording an album is quite a task. I discovered a new appreciation for musicians, and the many vocalists I’ve listened to throughout the years. I also learned how important it was to deliver a song with the right emotion, phrasing and of course the right pitch. The most important facet of doing something different is the recognition that you can! I so encourage you to get inspired to “change it up”. Take some dance lessons, learn to fly a plane, join a cooking class, become an advocate for your favorite cause. Don’t just sit around and wish life was more exciting. Become the excitement you wish for.