by Luis Castellanos
The wind was picking up, and I was thinking it might rain soon. If it rained, the kids would get wet. Diapers would have to be changed. The car would be smeared with a mixture of smelly feet and mud.
My phone dinged at least four times during this thought. I needed to check emails this evening. I needed to get my dry-cleaning bagged for drop off. Presentations were due soon, status updates in the morning, contracts to review.
Then, I realized I wasn’t watching the kids at all. They were getting pretty close to the street, so I called them back. Their movement patterns were always random. That’s why it was so hard to maneuver a beverage around them without it getting bumped and sloshed around at least every other sip. I was puzzled by why were they running around in tight circles this time. Not so much random, but as if they were chasing something like a dog after its tail.
Before kids, one of my good friends told me his daughters were so great because they brought magic back into his life. What I mean is, when he saw how they perceived the world, it reminded him of how he used to perceive it. Back before he knew about things like static electricity and the secret behind the detachable thumb trick. To children, everything is magic. Fireworks, the sour of a lemon, disappearing under a blanket, falling leaves, the first time on a subway. Tori and Cole were chasing leaves spiraling downwards, freed by the heavy wind. I sat there, silently watching them dance and play in the breeze and thought about when I lost the magic, and how to get it back again.
There are books, seminars, experts and countless advisers ready to explain the best ways to enjoy life, appreciate every moment, live to the fullest. I find the easiest way is to tell yourself to do it. Literally say, “I’m going to focus on this moment because it is fleeting, because it is precious, because it will never come again.” The subconscious mind is your very literal friend. The one that will unquestioningly believe you when you tell him you’re going to make time to appreciate the present, to get better, and to enjoy every moment. Go ahead, try it. I say it in good times and in bad. When things suck, I say, man this kind of sucks, but it’s another moment in time that is fleeting so I’m going to savor it. I’m going to FEEL it. When times are great, I say this moment amazing. I say, I must stop time and completely immerse myself in each passing second. Eventually, the act of paying attention and soaking life in becomes second nature. I seek opportunities to slow time and focus on what is happening now, not what happened, not what I need to do. I contemplate how amazing life is and how it slips by unless you reach out and grab it. Soon, you will train yourself to appreciate every moment for what it is, and the next time your kids are immersed in the magic, you will be too.