This week I have been thinking a lot about living in the moment. Recently I listened to a speech given by David Foster Wallace, an American novelist who was recommended to me by my ethics professor. The speech is called This is Water and I recommend it to anyone who lives each week menial task by menial task, waiting for the day to come where you are finally free of responsibility. This is Water explains to you that day is never coming. You may get your dream job next year, you may meet the love of your life the next, but the monotony does not stop.
Wallace illustrates, with a very snarky sense of humor, your morning commute to work or your evening wait in the checkout line does not need to be spent watching the clock. You need not despise the hummer that cut you off or the loud and seemingly very rude woman bellowing her voice throughout Walgreens as she yells into her phone. The people you pass each day may be having a rough go at things. I could list all of the awful examples that would be considered “worse off than you” but that’s not the point. Wallace gave me a new way to see my week ahead. There is no reason to feel like “I just have to hang in there until Friday”, because Monday-Thursday can be conscious, explorative and joy-filled days as well.
So in order to help myself refrain from feeling down and out throughout the workweek, I’ve put together a list of things that we all take for granted. I hope they shed some light on why your life isn’t so bad ALL of the time. Disclaimer: I entirely acknowledge the fact that some of you may in fact not have the luxury of one or more of the following. You include the many of whom I admire.
- You have the sky, trees and nature in general to admire.
(I’m very pleased I’ve managed to slip trees into almost every one of my blogs.)
- You have the ability to wake up, roll over and check what time it is.
- You have the freedom to choose what you want to do today, even if you have some limitations.
- You have the time to have a sense of humor and make light of a bad day.
- Your shower works, with hot water and maybe you even have a loofah.
- There isn’t a hurricane, tornado, typhoon or other natural disaster going on outside your door.
- You have opposable thumbs.
- You have the means to eat three meals a day, even if one (or more) of them is ramen noodles.
- Your roof does not leak water on your head; it keeps you dry and warm at night.
- If you step out your back door, your backyard isn’t full of safari animals.
- You have good health, or you have someone to bring you chicken noodle soup if you are under the weather.
- You have a comfortable bed to sleep in, with a pillow, which is not clay or soil or the floor.
- You have the ability to read and write, which allows you to further your knowledge of the world.
- You have books to read to strengthen the previously mentioned. ^
- Somewhere in this vast world of ours, you have someone who loves or misses you.