“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding because to understand is to be free.” — Baruch de Spinoza (1632–1677)
So much of what we do and think about involves waiting. We wait to grow up and wait to get a job only to spend years in jobs waiting to retire. Once we are grown up many of us want to be young again and will do many expensive and dangerous things to look as young as we did when we were waiting to be older.
We wait to fall in love with the perfect person, often overlooking the love that would have lasted. Then we wait to get a divorce or wait to find the next flawed companion or spouse convincing ourselves that it will be the right one, only to wait for them to make a mistake or miss a step. So we can wait to start our lives over once again.
We wait for miracle diets or miracle cures for what is wrong with our bodies. We wait to have children or once we have them wait for them to grow up and leave us alone. When they do, we wait for them to call us, spend more time with us, or come back home. If they come back home, we wait for them to get a job and move out. Some of us are waiting to go to heaven when we die, but if we become ill will subject ourselves to almost anything in order not to die.
It seems the human condition is about waiting for something other than what we have or waiting to go or be somewhere other than where we are — in life, in the age cycle, in the world, in relationships and in our careers.
I can’t help but wonder what the calculation of time lost waiting would tell us about the way we have spent our time allotted on this planet. Surely it would tell us that too often we have failed to find joy in the moments. The eternity of now is a concept much under-appreciated but one that forces me out of the waiting room of my life.
For 2012 I decided not to make resolutions I’ll only break in the first month. This year I didn’t promise myself once again I would stop watching very late night television completely. I refused to con myself into believing I had eaten my last over-the-top chocolate or that I would give up carbohydrates. I’ve stopped writing down exactly how many pages I will write each day or how many friends I promise to see this year.
Most importantly, I’ve stopped waiting for the perfect life to occur because despite all that is difficult … maybe, just maybe, my life is perfect, as it is. It’s all in the definition.
Here are my thoughts on Not Waiting for 2012:
I am not waiting to get well.
I am not waiting in fear that I’ll get sicker.
I am not waiting to be loved and understood in precise and rigid ways.
I am not waiting to die.
I am not waiting to suffer.
I am not waiting to change others or myself for the better.
I am not waiting to be surprised by 2012’s goodness.
I am not waiting to be disappointed by 2012’s events.
I am living. Just living because it is a full and complex job.
I am resolved to enjoy living in each moment of each new day.
Waking up each morning to start living over and over again each day until I say goodbye to 2012.
And won’t wait in order to begin again, begin anew.
Because I am not waiting I am free.
I am present.
“Eternity is not something that begins after you are dead. It is going on all the time. We are in it now.” Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935)
©Alida Brill 2012