Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Joy to be Found in the Moments

Infrared Photo by Shayne Gray

Today is my last day of holidays, a wonderful holiday. As usual, I'm feeling nostalgic for two weeks ago. Ever filled with thoughts of "this time last week..." it can be difficult for me to move forward, although moving forward cannot be avoided. I've been focusing more these days on feeling the joy of the moment, instead of the nostalgia for moments past, or even the pointlessness of moments sometimes...


Around five years ago, I was watching a little home video of one of my cats playing. In the background, you could hear the sound of me doing the dishes. I was overwhelmed with a feeling that can only be described as depression. What hit me so hard was the pointlessness of it all. There I was, doing dishes, a task that would never, ever end. For the rest of my existence, I'd be doing dishes, but why? I thought, 'is this the whole point of life? Doing the dishes and these other monotonous, daily tasks?' It felt awful. I felt like everything I had done in my life, all the studying, experimenting, growing up, living, laughing and loving had brought me nowhere but to the sink. To do the dishes.


Yesterday, as I spent the day cleaning up the house (and doing the dishes) I remembered this feeling I had had, and decided to turn it around. After all, the dishes do need to get done, but there's no reason to get depressed over it. Instead, I just began thinking of it as a positive thing: I'm doing the dishes, everyone does the dishes, I'm not alone in this task, and though it isn't the most exciting activity, its an activity none the less, and I am able to do it. So why not think of other things as I wash? Things that bring me joy, like the very fact that I am living, weather or not I'm doing the dishes or travelling through Rome, I am here right now and really loving the moments I have.


Now about the nostalgia... I'm nostalgic for the days I spent on my own wrapping gifts, watching Bridget Jones' Diary, the night I stayed up in front of my Christmas tree watching old episodes of The Kids in the Hall. I'm nostalgic for being at my parents house (the last Christmas in that house), laughing so hard all day on Christmas Eve, watching HGTV, as my dad and I begged my mom every hour to be allowed to open one stocking stuffer (and we did). Now here I am, my last day of holidays, Christmas is over, and work begins again. How sad is that?


But then really, why be sad and nostalgic for times past? As I was doing my dishes yesterday, I was thinking about this in another way. Instead of being sad that times are gone, be happy that you were able to live them. If something brought you joy at a certain moment, then there shouldn't be any sadness to be found there. Life will never stop, no matter how much you try to stay in the past, in your head. So take pleasure in the moments as they are happening, because the moment you are living right now, may one day be a nostalgic memory...but hey, you are in that moment, right now! So really live it, and enjoy.


There are so many more wonderful moments to come, so be open to those moments. Instead of feeling depressed about the pointlessness of cleaning, I'll just enjoy the cool breeze blowing the curtains as I clean instead (in the springtime, of course!) I'll enjoy the music playing on the radio, and why not dance a little in the hallway?


Today I'm going to make the most of my day. Even though I want to hole up again in front of my heater, I'm going to go out and enjoy the sunshine. Stock up on good wine and groceries, and I'm going to finally finish that book I can't seem to finish; at the Argentinian cafe where I will not have the internet to distract me!

Fiona Apple - "Why Try To Change Me Now" from Andrew van Baal on Vimeo.