So, I encountered a colleague (and friend) in the hallway on campus the other day, and we stopped to chat since we hadn't seen each other in some time. She asked me how things were going, and I began to explain the development - or rather non-development - of the latest potentiality that I had been exploring, and in the middle of explaining the pros and the cons of the different outcomes and the possible next steps and all the considerations appertaining thereto, I suddenly interrupted myself by saying
You know, I'm pretty fucking tired of all this navel-gazing
and just like that it was like a fog cleared or dawn broke or a weight was lifted from my shoulders.
Call it realization, rationalization, exhaustion, or wisdom, I somehow understood all at once that all my schemes and plans and anticipation had been keeping me from living in the moment and enjoying my life as much as I could have been. It was not with acrimony that I came into this epiphany; the projects and prospects and goals that I had been pursuing were neither trivial nor without purpose. It was not any specific action that was objectionable. The process had just been seemingly constant: certainly continual if not continuous, and clearly having gone on too long. I realized that in all the expectation of moving on, I hadn't been moving at all.
This insight was like a gift of afflatus from the gods. I had no ongoing projects: nothing brewing, nothing pending, nothing in the pipeline. Once relieved of the yoke of what might be I was able to savor and relish what is. And you know what is? This is what is.
- I have a beautiful, smart, funny, unceasingly supportive wife to spend my days with.
- I have a wonderful circle of friends who enlighten, uplift, and amuse me to no end.
- I have possibly the best job in the world and am thoroughly enjoying my classes, my curricular work, and my students.
- I live in a totally cool neighborhood that is outstandingly walkable and has just about everything I need within striking distance.
- I am physically, financially, and mentally sound.
Two quotes from Epicurus are milestones to this renewed awareness:
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”If ever there was a time to be living it up, this is it. So that's what I'm gonna do. Care to join me?
“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance."