There’s a cliche that’s arguably over a hundred years old in the United States, to stop and smell the roses, an admonition against hurrying through life so fast that you miss all of the delights of life. Variants of this phrase and ideal stretch back as far as recorded human history goes. For example, Judaism contains an admonition to enjoy all that was created, and it’s even considered a sin by some interpretations to reject the wonders of life. (those of you who are active practitioners, feel free to correct me)
When I see friends writing and speaking about being ambitious, being hungry, wanting to do more, more, more, I’m partly happy and partly sad for them. Happy that they’re driven to accomplish, that they’re driven to do so much and create many good works, but saddened that they’re rushing through their lives, saddened that when the ride is over, I truly wonder if they will have actually enjoyed their lives fully.
What brings this to mind right now is the perfect evening breeze blowing through my window. Not too cool, a touch of humidity hinting at the springtime coming around, a faint scent of greenery as the first shoots pop out of the ground. It’s a breeze worth taking the time out to enjoy, which I did before writing this, the sort of breeze that will stir memories of youthful adventures when we’re old. You know exactly the kind if you’ve lived for a few years, the kind of breeze that will make you get up and go outside for a bit, maybe even grab a beverage to enjoy with it.
If there’s one teaching tool I’ve learned over the years to help me counteract the very bad habit of rushing past things, it’s the simple phrase, “this too shall pass”. Everything good and bad, right and wrong, new and old, eventually fades to nothing. Every joy, every sorrow, everything comes to an end. “This too shall pass” is a mantra and reminder to poke yourself with: if you’re enjoying something now, take the time to really enjoy it, because it will pass and it will never come again exactly as it is now.
Now if you’ll excuse me, an evening breeze is calling my name.
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