I’ve recently begun the process of learning how to live life in the moment. Even though I used to be Queen Spontaneity, somewhere along the way, life had started to become predictable and mundane, even for an A-type personality like me. But sometimes, all life has to do is smack you upside the head to get you to stop and take notice that it’s out there; you just have to reach out and grab it. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t always this way, but lately life really had become a series of processes. I’d wake-up, connect with the family, check emails, shower, go to the office, drive home, cook dinner, help with homework, work out if I had the energy, and go to bed. Over and over again, I would repeat my day in similar order doing routine things.
I probably would have continued at that momentum for the next 10 years had something ridiculously silly not happened. But, sometimes, that’s all it takes. My “Ah-hah” moment happened after I drove to a gas station where I simultaneously took a phone call and pumped unleaded fuel into my relatively new diesel SUV. Now, that’s not just dumb, it’s the very definition of the word stupid. The mistake, while it didn’t ultimately break me, inconvenienced me for two days straight and cost me over $700 stupidity fees and, of course, I beat myself up over it for a while.
It was stupid, yes. But, somehow, the very stupidity of it all, CHANGED ME. It was stupid because I have been living life on auto-pilot, and sometimes, important things get forgotten on auto-pilot.
In the past year or so, I forgot to send my son to school with Valentine’s Day cards for a party in class. I forgot my seventeen-year wedding anniversary completely. I forgot to call my recently widowed mother on her birthday, and I forgot to pump diesel gas into my car. I’ve been reminded more than once to stop gliding through life at the speed of light, to slow down, and to stop and smell the proverbial flowers that are abundant in my garden. I couldn’t help but think; any of one of those things could have been much worse. In my frenzied, harried, stop-for-nothing life, I could’ve backed my car into a pedestrian from a parking lot. I could have forgotten to turn off the iron and burned my house down. I could have forgotten all about what matters most to me. So, now, I’m committed to the process of learning to slow down to the speed of life before forty-one turns to fifty and I realize, life just passed me right on by.