Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Long December

"It's been a long December
And there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last

I can't remember all the times
I've tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass"
—Counting Crows

December is a paradox. It both flies by and drags on at the same time, somehow merging into a time of year that is insanely rushed and busy, but sometimes feels like it will never end. And, like every year, it's a time to both reflect and to look ahead.

When did things become so complicated? What happened to those magical childhood Christmases that we all have fond memories of? I realize as an adult, those fade into reality, but I'm not completely sure if my kids are getting it. Do they feel like I remember feeling? Can they not sleep because of the excitement of what might be waiting for them under the tree the next morning? Somehow, Christmas has become just another thing we try to get through instead of enjoying.

And as I ponder this, I realize it's not only Christmas. Our children have a pretty hectic schedule. There's swimming (and lots of it), there's concerts, there's school functions and friends' birthday parties, and it seems that more and more we're just trying to get through all the events, as if there's going to be some moment of peace somewhere down the line.

And, now that I think of it, it's not just me, but pretty much all of society. Somehow we've become so busy trying to get through life, we're missing out on living it. Just like the lyrics to the song above, I can't remember all the times I've tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass. Don't see everything as a chore, or a task at hand, but try to approach it as being a memory, something worth cherishing and hanging on to, because one day, near the end, we're going to regret just getting by to the next week, or the next month or the next year. There's a quote attributed to Steve Jobs, but it's also a Chinese proverb, that says "the journey is the reward." We need to focus on that more.

Yes, it has been a long December … and maybe this year will be better than the last. Or at least one that I learn to slow down and enjoy.

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