Years ago I dreamed of a much simpler life. And it's funny. When I got it, I didn't recognize it at first. Because I had not yet mastered the art of being able to enjoy things. A frenetic life can make things like enjoyment get pushed to the back burner. If we are busy focusing on dozens of things at once, it's hard to enjoy any of them. We get hit from all sides with subliminal messages about what we should be doing versus what we are doing: Remember to breathe! Take Yoga and Pilates!
Live in the Moment!
I was on the phone with my girlfriend in the States. "If one more person tells me again that I should be living in the moment, I'm gonna smack 'em," she said through her labored breathing (she was spinning on her stationary bike as we talked). " I'm so much in the damn moment that I almost tripped over it and broke my toe."
No, you're not, honey, I gently reminded her. What I neglected to say, supreme harmony freak slash confrontation wimp that I am, is that if she really cared about the conversation time with me, she'd get off the damn bike and stop panting.
But she was right about one thing. We are not going to start enjoying things if we just add them to our to do list and stress about them because everyone says we should. Learning to live in the moment comes from within. It's learned - through having fritted away plenty of moments that we can't get back.
Years ago, I was in an executive sales training workshop sponsored by one of my numerous ex-employers. As part of the training, we had to answer the question: What would you like to see yourself doing in ten years? My answer did not endear me to the trainer, or to my peers, or to my boss, with whom the answers were shared. My first answer was that I would like to be walking my dog in the woods.
Take it from me. If you are in a sales training session and they ask this question, say something like "making ten times what I'm making today" or " I want my boss' job". It will make your life easier. Because saying "walking my dog" when in fact I did not even yet have a dog made my boss question my overall dedication to my chosen profession of sales. Which he was, in retrospect, right to do. Because the truth is, when I think about the fact I used to be in sales, I can only justify it by saying that I had an out-of-body experience that lasted 13 years. Not that I find anything wrong with sales, mind you. But since I am not motivated by money, don't like to dress up, hate to drive in traffic, meetings give me an immediate headache, and I felt depressed when I would close a deal, I had no right being in the profession. Period.
Anyway, back to walking the dog. Yesterday, it was just a gorgeous day. Sun shimmering through an azure blue sky, temperatures in the mid 70's, the grapes heavy on the vines. I took Max and we went for a long ramble through the Barbera and Dolcetto vines, me tasting grapes, him zig-zagging through. My mind was elsewhere - on my cooking class this week, on mentally reviewing my staff coverage for October, on the ceramics I need to quickly finish up for an order.
When I stopped. And looked. And thought.
In ten years, I want to be walking my dog in the woods.
Here it is, twenty one years after that sales training session. Ok, better late than never.
And I'm walking my beautiful dog through vineyards. In Italy. My home. Where I have a bed and breakfast. I accomplished a life long goal! Dog walking! How incredibly fantastic is that, really? No meetings, no dressing up, no high heels, no schlepping samples, just a simple, quiet existence with beautiful food and the person I love and my dog and my guests. Oh, I can still make it complicated if I let my mind work too hard and wander too much. But I prefer, much prefer in fact, to simply do what everyone has been telling me to do all along.
Live in the moment. My moment. And what a lovely moment it is.