By Arleen Lorrance
Until May 14 I was swimming at the YMCA every day until our own pool heated up to 80 degrees. Each year the days get just a little warmer a little earlier and we are grateful for that, although not for the climate change that is forcing it to happen.
Swimming at the Y gives me the opportunity to engage with teenage lifeguards who, if I had had children early on, could be my great grandchildren! I didn’t, and they are not, and I am glad. My work has been about raising adults and that is a big enough job.
The very young lifeguards talk endlessly about their boring days and how they look forward (weeks and months in advance) to “the prom,” the end of classes, and graduation. They can hardly wait, primarily because, for most of them, there is really nothing else of import in their lives. They are hungry for events, for change, for stimulation. They want to be free of high school, and yet, they are not too sure they want to enter the “real world” and the responsibilities that will descend upon them. I smile at their innocent, unsophisticated view of the days of their lives (pun on soap opera intended.)
As for me, at 77 I have a very different perspective on life these days. I have never been bored, have had and dealt with many life events (some welcome, some difficult), and I have experienced the joys of extensive world travel as well as the richness of personal relationship. I have lived and am fully living the life the teens anticipate with both longing and trepidation.
In contrast to their desire for excitement, adventure, and challenge, I have arrived at the stage of fully valuing uneventful days. I treasure those days that bring me nothing important or serious with which to deal. Those days are not boring; I do not coast through them. Instead, I express gratitude for hours to be creatively productive, and for time to practice living consciously in the moment. And, there is a lot to practice in this regard without needing to be confronted with crises. I also practice welcoming the day, the first view each morning of my lush garden, the breeze blowing through the trees, the junk mail arriving in heaps, and the time to reflect and to rest.
Uneventful days are a wash of bliss over my life giving me the opportunity to savor each moment and to be aware that I am alive and how good that is. The less schedule I have, the fewer “have-to’s,” the more open my calendar, the better. Life is exciting all by itself; I don’t need to generate excitement.
I couldn’t have imagined such a state in my youth. Nor would I have valued it so much. I don’t need to change the world, only myself in each moment of new awareness. In fact, doing nothing is doing something; it is being. How lovely.
To those of my generation, let’s drink a toast to uneventful days and the privilege of living them.