Something amazing occurred March 20 – an equinox. This one is referred to as the Spring or Vernal equinox. It happens every year. Buds start bursting, bulbs begin blooming, rain storms don’t feel quite so icy, the birds can be heard singing with the sunrise. As the Beatles sang, “It’s been a long cold lonely winter” and I’m glad it’s coming to an end. This Spring I celebrate my 65th year on this earth and more than ever I am amazed at the rebirth that occurs. It renews me, gives me hope, makes me cherish each breath. The days are going to get longer, warmer until summer arrives and we get to deal with the heat. Some of my friends long for summer – not me. I become a giddy little girl in spring as I slowly remove layers of clothing until a t-shirt with jeans is the norm, standing in the warming sunlight absorbing every beam, checking out each bud and bulb, watching my bird feeders as my beauties return feasting on the goodies I have provided, rolling the window down ever so slightly as I drive to let the fresh air in. Easter will arrive soon with chocolate, bunnies, chicks, and an array of pastel colors to brighten anyone’s dark mood. I know it won’t last. It is but a brief respite between extreme cold and crushing heat so I bask in the rejuvenation that is marked by the Spring Equinox.
Which takes me to “enjoyment – the state or process of taking pleasure in something”. I truly believe it has taken me decades to realize what it means to enjoy my life. Striving for perfection in my marriage and raising my sons dimmed my eyes to real enjoyment. Thank goodness for photos that capture moments so a memory can be triggered, but that is not the way to true enjoyment. A full time job and struggling to make ends meet for a decade after the divorce also dampened my ability to enjoy life as it unfolded around me. It took a trip to Disney World to open my eyes, thanks to my son, Dan. I was experiencing my first Magic Kingdom nighttime fireworks spectacular, but I was more concerned that I capture it with my camera than I was in enjoying it. The camera was not cooperating. As my frustration/anger levels rose, my son yanked the camera away from me and simply told me to look up. Suddenly I realized I had missed half the show – the beautiful colors, the music, the gorgeous castle, even Tinkerbell flying over us. It was at that moment that I realized I had forgotten how to enjoy my life experiences. From that moment I found myself slowing down, observing life around me – actually observing clouds, flowers, animals, even people’s smiles and frowns; feeling the breezes on my face; tasting unique flavors in food and drink. Upon retirement, I thought this would be easier. Retirement, however, has brought its own set of issues – health, insurance, finances, even death – all of which have settled on me with a great heaviness. How many more times while I am on this earth will I have to really enjoy my life – to feel a special warmth fill me as something catches my eye making me grin and giggle. The days of our lives are numbered – why waste precious time in worry or frustration? I am older and supposedly wiser so I’m telling you all – “stop and smell the roses”. It is a cliche, but it is also a truth!
On that same note, when was the last time you were excited about something? I love the Countess Dowager’s quote on Downton Abbey – “At my age, one must ration one’s excitement”. Of course, the character is farther on in her years than I am. I suppose too much excitement could be exhausting and maybe even detrimental to health as one ages. However, even a touch of excitement – “exhilaration, elation, anticipation, eagerness” – adds a spring to one’s step and makes you feel like a child. Children get excited about everything. It’s all new and mysterious. How many times have you heard “are we there yet?” on a trip or “that was totally awesome” after a roller coaster ride, or just an enthusiastic “wow” for just about anything experienced? Unfortunately, it takes a lot more to bring excitement to an adult’s life. We have to create it, reach for it, demand it. It can be as simple as being excited to see an anticipated movie, read the latest novel, babysit your grandchild or as complex as that long awaited trip somewhere that you have dreamed about for years. I don’t know if I want to ration my excitement just yet. I want to grin like the Cheshire cat, clap my hands and squeal with excitement over life itself. I want to experience small wonders and large wonders with everything in between. Please don’t stop being excited about the wondrous things in your life. It helps you push past the dark,ugly things that can consume your heart and soul. Think about the Pointer Sisters singing “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.” Dance, sing, dream – get excited about life!