Live Meaningfully – By Ayesha G. Shenk, M.A.
(If I’m being honest, as I write this it’s still November.) But it may as well be the holidays. I can barely stand how quickly this year has clipped by. The temperatures are finally dropping, all of the holiday ‘gift guides’ are popping up online and in my inbox, and I find myself contorting an already full calendar. My word, how the time goes.
My littlest recently turned ONE and it’s as though I barely had enough time to lament the lack of sleep and then it was over. She’s danced, pranced, talked, walked, and shimmied her way into all of our hearts and, in a blink, she’ll be even bigger.
The older kids are no better. One would think they’d have the decency to slow down a bit for their old mum and dad to catch up – what with being fully developed beings and all by now, but not a chance. High school may actually move in fast forward and being the top dog in 5th grade is starting to bring with it a bit of swagger.
My husband and I will connect and reflect and marvel at the time as it goes (pretty much every day) but for some reason even that doesn’t seem to make it slow. Science backs up the feelings we have that time actually does begin to speed up as we age. Technically, our brains perceive it as going faster for a few reasons – the more years we are, the smaller percentage the last year is in the grand total, we take in less new information the longer we’ve been around, the amounts of dopamine released with new information even when we do take it in are lower, etc etc…
But another reason supposedly has to do with how ‘routine’ our lives become as we get older. Wake up, eat, school/work, kids, eat, wash up, bed.
…It does sound like a rather plodding storyline.
So what then are we supposed to do in the crux of life and responsibility? I suppose it (unsurprisingly) comes back to Meaning again. The holidays, December in particular, seem like a prime time to become more intentional in the moments as you experience them. Look around, reflect, listen, sit quietly and observe. Find the meaningful moments as you witness the splendor of a glorious season of life and love. Family, friends, gratitude, generosity, good will to all… it feels prime for the picking.
What feels truly meaningful to you at this moment in life? When you sit in its presence, truly experience it enough to appreciate it, does it make life slow down even if just for a moment? Can you drink in the essence of that which is going well and attend to that which may not be? Can you commit to not making the mistakes of an unexamined life for yet another year?
In 2020, we will all get older. We will all experience some pleasure. We will all navigate some pain. In 2020, time will pass even more quickly than it already has for each and every one of us… In 2020 I would like to be more awake while it does.
Drink in the moments that make these holidays meaningful for you…
Stay thirsty in the new year.
From my family to yours, I wish you the gifts of passion, poise, love, truth, gratitude, meaning and grace. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Cheers to 2020.
“This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.”
― Maya Angelou
‘til the next time,
Be Well; Live Meaningfully.
Ayesha G. Shenk, M.A. practices at 2150 Park Avenue North as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and can be reached at www.livemeaningfully.net or 407-796-2959.by