It is a wonderful life

We stood at the end of the pier looking at the sunset, the birds and the lights in the distance. The sky and the horizon were full of intense colors: orange, magenta, dark blue… I thought what a fantastic way to end the day: feeling the sea breeze, watching the sunset and sharing it all with a friend. I heard his melancholy  voice saying “Let's go back; watching the sunset is always depressing to me. It reminds me of all the unfinished  things that are left for tomorrow!” I looked at the magnificent view, trying to seize the moment, to memorize it all knowing that it would never be the same again.  I looked at him and his sad face and thought if only he could see what I was looking at!

Like my friend, most of us have goals and have set up plans to reach them in the least amount of time. We dread anything that either prolongs the process or alters the goal. Our focus is on the goal and not the process. We tend to avoid change and to reduce elements of surprise. As a result, we deny ourselves of new experiences and shortchange our lives without any realization. Life becomes a series of goals that one plans to reach. Meanwhile life just passes us by while we so frantically try to stay alive in this vicious cycle of our own creation. Once we run out of goals, we find ourselves lost and start to question the meaning of life.

This way of life is no surprise to me since most “well-to-do” parents train their children to be achievers.  What is important is to achieve something. We never learn to appreciate what we go through to get to our targets. Although our endurance, efforts, trials and tribulations are recognized, they mean very little when we do not achieve the goal. There is too much emphasis on success and not enough on the importance of failures. After all, learning from mistakes is an achievement in itself.
Life is about  learning and experimenting not, short-cuts. It is about change.  It is the most natural process that its understanding requires very little teaching. The secret of getting the most out of life is becoming one with this process and welcoming its dynamics. This results in an on-going learning and rejuvenation process from within.  Past is just a collection of experiences. Present and future are about discovery and change.  This is a never ending process. To find the meaning of life, we only have to search within and never look elsewhere to find the answer.  When you find out what makes you “tick” and pursue it, then you have found the meaning of your life. And in pursuing your dreams, you will embark on a discovery path that will make your life fulfilling and rich. With all of our imperfections, we are life at its best since we have the ability to question, to reason, to be creative, to discover and to make our lives meaningful. It is up to us to make whatever we like out of life.  It is our responsibility and our choice. The main thing is to realize that our time is not limitless, to recognize how precious it is and to live every moment to the fullest.

I wish we were more creative  when it comes to our emotions. I think what is out there is just the reflection of  our  thoughts and feelings. It is like a hologram where we have the ability to  project  whatever we like to see and feel however we like to feel. The real talent is the ability to see the positive side of matters, learn how to enjoy the ups and downs, and not to give up when facing obstacles.  Then the events in life become a series of experiences where we get to know ourselves more and discover new talents and abilities. In a world like that one can find pleasure even in pain.

Sometimes I wish I could be eighteen again and keep what I know today. It would be wonderful to be 18 and look at the life ahead as an endless learning experience. Then death becomes the celebration of a lifetime of experiences, not achievements and failures, but experiences. I believe it's never too late and one can start anytime. It is just easier when you are younger. At the same time I think you appreciate any discovery a lot more when you finally realize it at a later stage of your existence.  By then you are finally aware  that you live on borrowed time, have understood its uncertainties, and have recognized how precious and fragile life really is.

I look forward to the next moment, what it brings and what I can make of it. I close my eyes and think of all the memorable moments in my life, the ones that have made an impression one way or another. Their lucidity is amazing. I can remember all the details. In some ways they have all enhanced my self realization. They have shown me that I can go further, I can learn more, I can do more, I can endure more, I can love more, I can handle excruciating pain and sadness, I can feel unbelievable amounts of joy, …. And I can survive just about anything if I want to.  As cliché as it may sound, it is indeed a wonderful life and I welcome all my remaining moments and the wonders they will bring for me.

August  1997