Recapturing Joy

It’s been a long two months with my mom in the hospital. The drive back and forth to see her is long and I’m both physically and mentally exhausted.

We are told that life is short, but throughout our day to day lives we tend to forget that fact. Rather than embracing the hours ahead we shrink into the folds of what we know. We wake and step through our routines often without thinking about the great possibilities that might lie ahead. Watching someone fight for their life is a grim reminder of how little time we are granted.

As children we craft such incredible dreams. We want to cross the street without holding hands, ride our bikes into neighboring towns and stay up all night. With time we dream of our future professions; becoming doctors, astronauts, veterinarians, writers, teachers and scientists. We dream of changing the world.

None of us envision wasting away our days staring at a cubicle wall or spending more time pushing paper than helping patients, coworkers or clients. As children we don’t worry about paying our mortgage or keeping the lights turned on.

We dream because money is not a force pushing us in one direction or another. Children cannot control what they eat for dinner, when they go to bed or whether or not they can skip school, yet they see the world through such clearly focused lenses. A world in which anything seems possible.

When I was growing up my best friend lived directly across the street from me. Every day I crossed the small, unmarked road separating our houses and marched up the giant hill to see her.

Life was an adventure. We used our imaginations to construct games, swam in her above ground swimming pool, played volleyball over the clothes line in her backyard and sat around the table playing Uno and Yahtzee with her mom.

As adults our vision blurs. We forget about the pleasures and joys of our childhood. The complexities of adulthood force us to labor through life.

It is so easy to recall memories from my youth and so difficult to remember what I did just yesterday. The visions of my childhood, teenage years and college days are so vivid and then starting in my mid-twenties everything begins to fade.

When I look back at my life I want to relive all of my years with the same joy and wonder as I do the first two decades. Now is the time to embrace, because the future is not a guarantee for any of us.

You may need money to live, but do not forgo your life in favor of reaching a specific bank balance. My goal is to find a way to feel truly alive each day; one small gesture, one small act, one small way to make an everlasting impression on my mind. A memory I can recall when my final days are numbered.

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