Yesterday, I had a friend visiting from out of town. We got together with another friend to play tennis and then have a BBQ. It was just great. The sky was blue with big puffy white clouds. The temperature was about 78 degrees. There was a light breeze. The tennis was really fun and my 13-year-old daughter was my doubles partner. My out-of-town friend commented, “This is the best. I love seeing Y'all and playing tennis on this fabulous day.”
Yes, it was kind of perfect.
This prompted a discussion between all of us about "being present" and a new appreciation for the “little things.” Little things like good weather. A blue sky. A soft breeze. A great tennis game. Delicious food and getting together with friends. Anyone of those things would have been lovely, but all of those things in one afternoon made it exceptional. Oh, and for me, having my daughter as my tennis partner was the icing on the proverbial cake.
Being present in the moment (dare I say mindful) is a new superpower for me. I was totally present and enjoying every moment that we were playing, eating, and catching up. Having spent a lifetime of juggling a big career, small children, and all of the responsibilities of being a working mom, especially one with an overly heightened sense of perfectionism, I was rarely ever present. I always lived in the future: Lists, deadlines, preparation for the next activity, the next meeting, tomorrow, next week, ten years, etc.
Only now am I trying harder to do LESS. Less multi-tasking. Less worrying. Less living in the future. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still make lists every day. I still keep a tight schedule. I am still a prepared-ness freak. But I am re-training my brain to stop and smell more roses. To savor my food. To enjoy my meditation. To be mindful when I am playing tennis or practicing yoga. I am learning to be grateful for the little moments... as well as the big ones.
My dad has been gone now for three weeks and I have been thinking about him a lot. He was unintentionally “mindful.” He never drove by a beautiful tree without admiring it. It was always a good day when he saw family or friends. He loved what he did for a living. He took great pleasure in driving a car or just riding in a car when he no longer could drive himself. As his grandson said in his eulogy, “He thought every meal he ate was the best meal he ever had.”
My dad always told me to “worry less and count your blessings.” For him, it came naturally. For me, it has been a slower process. (50 years or so). But each day that I remember to admire a tree, note the color of the sky, or just be more present, I am honoring his memory. Implementing his sage advice, I find myself a little happier.
Yesterday, my cup ran right over the top... and it was the little things that made it so joyful.