by Fabian Boie, M.S.
I have recently spent a couple of days with some very dear friends in Chicago, IL. It was first time visiting this emblematic city of the US and I liked it. It was cold indeed, and the wind reminded me of the city’s nickname.
During this short vacation, I found myself lying in the sun, on my friend’s porch, admiring the Fall’s generosity with colors. Every single leaf bounced the sun’s light, seemingly trying to make the best of every moment left before falling off the tree. Watching this unique spectacle, I realized that even time passed much slower than I was used to. I knew something was different and I tried to figure out what.
At first, I realized that I left my daily routine, and my fast-paced New York life and busy schedule. For a short time, I put aside all my assignments due, my dissertation, and my projects and allowed myself to cease running. I fully stopped, at least for a little while. Then I realized that I was living in the here and now, in the present moment. I was “Seizing the Day”- watching, listening, admiring, laughing and enjoying every single moment slowly, one at a time.
You and I are caught in this maze of daily routines and overdue projects. We all try to beat the mad rat race and we all postpone living and enjoying ourselves “later”, “after”: after I finish, after I graduate, after I retire, etc. This irrational approach to living our lives leads to frustration, self-criticism, angst and depression. We find it so difficult to break free from our routines because they offer us the feeling of “safety” and the comfort of the known. The price we pay for staying in our “comfort zone” is missing the best moments of our life, which are ONLY in the here and now. I again encourage you to put a dent in your daily routine today and allow yourself a momentary bliss of self-enjoyment. It does not mean you are being selfish or self-centered. You are entitled to it- you really deserve it just because you are alive.
Make a small change in your life-today, now! Take a different route to work or on your way home! Stop by and get some flowers for your significant other, or surprise him or her with an invitation to a new restaurant, an art museum, a concert or a visit to the park nearby. Go take a walk and feel the leaves under your feet, touch a tree’s bark, stop for a moment and watch the clouds. Be aware of you, others, the world around you and “seize the moment”. After all, that is all you really have. There is no past, there is only now- you can rationally live only in the present moment.
I left my friends and their sunny backyard with this feeling of wonder at the beauty around us, which we miss too easily because we forget to “Carpe Diem”.