Every time a year comes to an end, I find myself looking back in reflection and gratitude. The idea is not to hold regrets, but to take away lessons from what happened and grow and do better in the year to come.
Last night, as I sat by my 3 year old, waiting for him to sleep, I found myself pondering over the contrast between his attitude in life and mine. There was so much, I realized that I would love to learn from him.
Living in the Moment
It is remarkable how young children live so completely within a moment. They hardly think back to a moment ago, forget musing over something that happened earlier in the day or a couple of days ago. Likewise, they have almost no concept of the future. To them anything that has to happen in the future may as well begin now or else it means nothing to them.
On the contrary, I find that I have a habit of spending each moment thinking back to something that happened or more often, planning into the future. Whether it is the next meal I will cook or what I will do in office the next day, I find myself constantly thinking ahead.
Missing the Forest for the Trees
The problem with such an approach is that you completely miss out on the present. While taking a walk, you don’t hear the medley of a little bird because your mind is too busy whirring. While playing with my son, I forget to take pleasure in the simple activity of colouring a page because I am wondering what I will pack for his school lunch the next day.
How often have I been busy staring at a tree and forgotten to appreciate the beauty of the forest that surrounds me?
Allowing Happiness to Wash Over You
I marvel at how my son can lose himself in a game, a toy or his imagination, heedless of hunger, a muttering mother or other distractions. The pure joy on his face when he is covered with sand or rolling in the snow, is unadulterated by worries about the dirt or the cold. When he eats a cookie or licks the icing off a cupcake, the rest of the world ceases to exist to him.
Isn’t there a lesson in this for all of us?
Shaking Off a Disappointment and Moving On
On many occasions, my son has been disheartened by something that didn’t go his way. I may not have allowed him to watch a video or his toy may not have worked the way he wanted it to, a friend may not have shared his game or he may have needed to give up something he really wanted. I have seen him cry as if the world is coming to an end. A few minutes later, I have seen him shake off his disappointment and smile brighter than ever. The most poignant are moments when I have scolded him, sometimes unfairly and after truly crying his heart out, he has come right back to me for a hug.
What spirit of forgiveness and what blessed forgetfulness! How beautiful my life would be, if I could learn to shake off the things that don’t go my way and laugh with my whole heart moments later. How wonderful if I could meet friends, families and acquaintances without carrying judgments and prejudices because of past actions.
Doing the Things One Loves
How simple childhood seems when we look from the perspective of an adult. You don’t have to go in to do jobs that feel like chores. You don’t have to take up duties and responsibilities that weigh you down. The younger you are, the more you have time to do the things you love doing.
But who said we can’t make time for those things even in our busy schedules. One thing I learnt in 2019 was the importance of taking some time off to do the things that mattered to me. I may not have written as much as I liked, but I did read every single day. I may not have crossed international borders, but I did travel on a shoe string budget within Canada. I may not have joined an expensive yoga class, but I did make time for dance workouts at home.
And sometimes, it is about even smaller things. Taking a moment to sit in the sunshine and soak up the sun. Sitting on one favourite couch with a cup of coffee and looking out of the window. Taking an extra ten minutes in the bath to pamper oneself with a foot-soak. Giving one’s spouse or friend a warm hug.
I see my son focus on the things he loves doing and putting aside toys and activities that don’t appeal to him. I see him engaging in activities that make him happy. I see him spend more time with the people that make him happy. And I think about how simple life can be if only we allow it to!
2020, I shall try to enjoy the big and the little moments. I shall try to live in each moment and focus on the ‘now’. I shall try to be more forgiving, to let disappointments drain away and to laugh as much as my son does.
And I shall continue to watch and learn from my precocious little one!
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.