Chasing Life

Photo by Karen Leigh (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

It can get away from us. Life, that is. We are still breathing, still making it to work on time, even planning holiday events at our own home. But still…

We stop looking at ourselves, checking in with where we are at this very moment in time. Or perhaps we are in tune to our wants and making things “happen”. But do we look into the eyes of loved ones and ask them real and new questions anymore? Have we in recent memory asked a significant other or friend or family member anything more substantial than “what’s for dinner” or “did you feed the dog”?

I truly believe the reason — as human beings — that we lose interest in someone or something is because we stop being curious. Just because we knew someone backwards and forwards thirty years ago, even living together or having “brunched’ once a week, doesn’t mean we truly know that person of today. Even if that person is healthy, confident, and together? There are private views and thoughts and dreams — yes dreams, even in middle age — that still exist. Do we ever check-in and ask where someone’s dreams are at 40, 50, 60? Current, living dreams, however simple or fantastic? After all, what we need now and what we needed at age 25 changes…it evolves with life experience. Can we be supportive as friends and family members and not judge seemingly “crazy” and new ideas? It all begins with one seed and that lovely seed only grows if watered, nurtured.

Who knows what can happen!!

Many times we are absolutely oblivious to where another person is mentally, spiritually, longingly. Why? Because we aren’t even attempting to tune into their wavelength. That would take too much energy from ourselves and the daily grind we complain about, right?

“Be careful what you ask. You might get sucked into another person’s world and have to actually give a bit of yourself.”

What is it about our species? We like the chase, yes? We chase each other, catch each other, have each other, then cage each other. Then what? The appeal evaporates? The shine tarnishes? Because we got what we “wanted” and that’s it? Because that which we have here and now — but not forever, turns out — is not worth investing in? (And no one should have someone anyway. I dislike that word. No individual is truly own-able. You can put someone in chains but the mind and heart are free.)

If all along we just try to connect and stop just thinking about that other person in relation to our own selves? Well then we might find new and wondrous gems of fresh spark and connection and surprises.

Nothing remains still, unchanged. We evolve through learning and experiencing or we do not evolve at all. It makes us fascinating creatures, but we label each other and shove each other into boxes, drawers, cabinets, closets…all of the time. We shelve ourselves too!

Well what if we stopped doing this? We might just find each other again. We might find what draws us to one another once more… But instead we immerse ourselves in the “technology” of communication.

Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to go back in time within my own life before all of the newest fangled/fancy technology began. Would I be more attentive to those around me once more, knowing the price to be paid for shadows-on-the-screen?

Well I suppose like getting older, if we only knew when we were younger…But that isn’t how it works.

Though time travel is a daydream of mine when thumbing through the pages (yes, actual pages) of a Jack Finney short story, it is not something that is applicable at this juncture. Not in my lifetime anyway. Though I do think scientifically it does most likely exist, my brain is not built to comprehend that possibility…well, only in an emotional way.

After my rambling, I do see that this very thing is the thing we don’t seem to do much anymore in the physical presence of others. We don’t wonder and ask and listen in person like we used to. We are too much on-stage instead of relaxed and vulnerable. And see, that is how we find the fascinating parts of those people we think we already know…the ones we regularly take for granted. Myself very much included.

It is a shame when we find out so much more about a person after they have already died, even when we think we knew everything about them. Well, no one can know everything. There is mystery in all of us. And there should be, after all.

So my suggestion?

Let’s ask one question of someone we know, love, or even perhaps a stranger. Let’s try to do it every single day. And it must be a question that has absolutely nothing to do with our own selves. It might open up an entirely new world, conversation, or even passion…who knows!

LIFE! We don’t have to travel to the far reaches of the globe to make it a rich and fulfilling one. We can travel in all sorts of ways right where we are. But we need to remain engaged and alert and in-tune with those around us.

And we have to chase it. We have to really want it.

Photo by Karen Leigh (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
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