Stop and Smell The Roses

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. The pace of life is crazy and that in turn makes us crazy. You can see it all around us and yet many times we feel helpless to do anything but be swept away by the tide. It can leave us feeling empty, powerless, resentful and filled with a host of other negative emotions.

The other week I had to take my car in very early for some repair work. There was really no good way to get home and back and I didn't want to spend the money on a taxi (especially since the cost of the repair depended on what they found once they took it apart). I kind of knew this going in so I resolved that I would take a notebook some water and  comfortable shoes. I thought I'd grab something to eat and then try to catch a bus to the center of town where I was sure I could occupy myself. After consulting the bus schedule I found that the buses in that area only run in the morning hours and then in the afternoon. This was not going to work.  So, I thought well, I guess I'll write a bit and hoped for the best. I indeed got the best but it was not what I expected.

I grabbed some breakfast from the corner market and sat outside on a concrete bench & table. To occupy myself I also bought a paper. For the first time in I don't know how many years, I read a physical newspaper from cover to cover. All of the news, advertisements and even (gulp) the obituaries. I originally started out just wanting to kill some time; but wow! In those minutes, I had a focus that was not about getting me to the next thing. It wasn't even about the information. It was a slow down enjoy life kind of moment.  I was finishing my breakfast when the garage called, told me what was wrong, how much it would cost and asking for authorization to continue with the repair. I gave permission and silently prayed for more work  so I would be able to pay for it by the time the credit card bill was due. 

Now that the paper was read, and the repair was still a couple of hours from being completed what was I to do with myself? I thought well, let's take a walk and burn off breakfast calories. So I did! I decided to stroll down with a stopping point in mind but not set in stone. I walked along the sidewalk, leisurely taking in the sunshine and an occasional breeze. I saw folks out for their morning jog or walking the dog. Some were out on their porches playing with their kids, workers were nearby completing construction repairs on some of the homes. It was a nice day; but all of sudden, I was overcome with deep emotion. The beautiful flowers of all sorts and the green grass of freshly mowed lawns and those needing to be mowed called to me. The architecture of the historic homes as well as the way each home had decided to landscape and decorate pulled me in for some reason. It was as if I was seeing, hearing, smelling and experiencing all of these things for the first time.

Now, in general, if I hear "stop and smell the roses' I acknowledge it's a worthy saying but subconsciously am thinking about thorns and possible allergies to pollen. Not the most optimistic viewpoint I know. But on this day, I felt my world slow down and I remembered the freedom of childhood to enjoy the moment rolling in the grass, climbing trees and enjoying nature. I'm sure my life is not too different from your and it's missing something. We're so busy trying to keep up with everything in our media heavy world that we've lost the enjoyment of our existence. A computer game cannot compete with kids running around using their imaginations in the neighborhood. Email cannot compete with sitting on the porch or just even talking across the way with your neighbor. I'm so guilty of hiding away in my busyness, that I'm afraid I'm forgetting how to live. Don't get me wrong, life is different from when I was a child. As we grow older we have certain responsibilities. The problem I see is that we seem to live as if our responsibilities have to push out our enjoyment of life. Not the momentary things that temporarily distract us; but unadulterated joy. 

I could quote the line from the Beatles song "How I long for yesterday" and sometimes I feel that way. But more importantly I want to be present in today. I don't want my senses to be dulled to the beauty that still exists around us. We don't have all the time in the world and there are some things we must do; but I encourage you and me to STOP and SMELL THE ROSES!

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