Monday, October 05, 2009

Being Present

This weekend, I spent time with an old friend from my days in Philadelphia (as a young art student in the early 80's). In our time together, we got to talking about the old days, about our lives, our loves, and about what it's like to become middle-aged parents and professionals.

Reflecting on what it means to be successful, talented, and fulfilled, my friend remarked that, for him, at forty-five, it's all about being present. He's a successful artist and cartoonist, a very gifted person, and his statement about being present for life, about noticing and witnessing life, really hit home for me.

How much time do we spend not even being aware of our surroundings? How often do we engage in conversations while simultaneously thinking about the next thing that we need to do or accomplish, the next thing to cross off of our list? We careen through life without even noticing what's in front of our noses.

I'm guilty. I'm the worst. So many moments just pass me by. But as I prepare to jettison my current lifestyle and leap into the void of travel and embracing the unknown, I feel an opening within me, an opening of spontaneity and the embracing of being present, of really savoring the moments that so often slip by.

I am so thankful to my friend for framing this notion of presence so keenly and succinctly. And being present is going to become my modus operandi for the next iteration of my life on the road.
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