Not at the Expense of the Moment…
by Edward Perry
When something really nice happens in my life I immediately start preparing for how to continue being happy should it go away. It’s a cruel thing to do to myself, despite the self-preservation. I hardly get to enjoy the moment and the gift of spontaneity.
On the other side of things… When something really nice happens I tend to think about it too much. I drown myself in thoughts and disappear from the the world of the living and exist in my fast paced imagination.
The third thing I do when something nice happens is that I day dream about it until it turns on itself and I end up imagining all the ways it could end. None of the scenarios are what I would want for myself.
I think my imagination always searches for an end to a story. I’m a story teller and it’s real hard for me not to anticipate how a story will turn out. Personal experience does not provide too many happy endings, but that’s just it, real life never ends at the close of a book or at the credits. In movies and books we never see how the lives of characters unfold after the story. I leave those stories okay with assumptions and never lose sleep wondering about them. But of course it’s not my life so it’s not something I’d care to figure out for them.
Okay random example:
I’m on a plane and I imagine all the ways I could die: Crash on takeoff, fuselage failure and I get sucked out, die in the engine, die after free fall, crash due to pilot error in a storm, die trying to stop terrorists, survive the crash but burn to death in the wreckage, crushed slowly by debris, slowly freeze in the Atlantic. Once I get that out of the way, I imagine all the ways I could survive: surviving on a snowy mountain top like in “Alive”, living in a forest or jungle after escaping the exploding wreckage, floating in the ocean with other passengers, figuring out how to live through the heat of the Sahara Desert, escaping the aircraft after a minor crash landing at the airport. Then I patiently calm and convince myself that death isn’t all that bad, as long as it’s quick, most likely an air crash would be. But I don’t want to be surprised with fear and dread should we nose dive and flip upside-down to our deaths. I want to be okay with it. I want to clear my head of regret and not pray to God for another chance. If this is it then I’m fine. I lived an awesome life and it’s okay that this is all I get.
How morbid is that?! I do it so I won’t have to suffer during the fall. Yet, I ruin most of my flight worrying. I try to convince myself that when I get on a plane, I am as good as dead and to be okay with it from the beginning. Personally, I don’t think this is the right way to go about it. I’d rather not assume life or death as a possibility. I’d rather continue as I do walking down the street.
In the same way I’d like to reduce the amount of “Air Crash Scenarios” in my day to day life. Though, I feel like it’s a responsible thing to anticipate possibilities, I remind of myself when Qui Gon Gin advised Obi Wan Kenobi to yes, be mindful of the future but “Not at the expense of the moment.”
Currently, I’m doing a good job at that.