Carpe Diem

Wheresoever you go - Confucius - 585

Over the past couple of days I’ve had memories of old events pop into my head out of the blue.  Memories of carefree, joyful times.

One particular memory was of a time in high school when my beloved friends and I would walk to school, being completely silly and belting out songs from musicals like Grease.  We were 14, I think.

We had to cross a river (in reality it was a probably a small stream, but everything looked big back then!) on the way to and from school.  On our way home one day we realized the bridge had been washed out by a storm.

Hmmm… what were we to do?

We thought about it for a split second, then scrambled over branches that hung over the river. We giggled nervously, a bit scared at the daring feat we were attempting.  After all, we could fall, get soaked, dump our backpacks – or my saxophone – in the water, and probably get in serious trouble if our parents found out.

But we did it!  We crossed the river to “safety,” dry backpacks in tow.  And a buddy somehow actually managed to carry my saxophone across in his teeth!  When we got to the other side, we continued our crazy singing and dancing, laughing all the way home about our exciting adventure.

I hadn’t thought about that day for a long, long time.  But it brought a huge smile to my face this morning.

Then it got me to thinking – how would we approach a similar situation as adults?

Imagine: you’re taking a walk to a place you really want to be (maybe a great cafe), and need to cross over a stream to get there.  As you approach the bridge, you realize it’s under repair and can’t be crossed!  What do you do? Do you laugh about it?  Curse a blue streak?

And once your initial reaction is over, do you take off your shoes and wade through (assuming it’s safe and not winter in a cold climate), find a different way to cross, or turn back?

As adults, we’d likely turn back.

But why?  Assuming you’re not in danger, why not cross the stream?  Why not stretch yourself and do something out of the ordinary, something unusual and maybe even unthinkable?  You’d get a little wet – so what?

Remember a time of being carefree, and not being concerned about doing everything by the book or because it was practical?  When your heart guided much of what you did?

So… now that we no longer have the raging hormones of teenagers, and have gained a bit of wisdom from experience, why not let our hearts have more of a say in what we do?

The next time you’re faced with what seems like a stumbling block, look closer: instead of turning back, maybe you can jump on or around that block – and have some fun in the process!

Carpe diem – seize the day!

About Christine

Positive thinker. Writer. Lover of travel and adventure, oceans and mountains, and the energy of a big city. Oh, and deep belly laughs, sappy movies and spirited conversations. Believer in limitless human potential.

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8 Responses to Carpe Diem

  1. Thomas Ross says:

    Christine,

    I have never regretted the moments when I took off my shoes and waded the stream. Some of my richest, most cherished memories involve doing something that made no sense whatever- driven only and simply by the feeling of the moment.

    Great post.

    Thanks.

    Tom

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Tom! That’s been my experience as well – some of my best memories have come from doing something spontaneous and completely out of the ordinary, living purely in the moment. What a sense of feeling alive!

      Christine

  2. Rod says:

    Great post, Christine! I find Sam helps me to not turn back at “river crossings”. The little ones help keep us young and see the big picture!

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Rod! I couldn’t agree more – the little ones really bring us into the moment and “force” us to look at things from their eyes. They help us stretch in areas where we often wouldn’t otherwise. It’s a wonderful thing! 🙂

  3. I LOVE this post, Christine! I loved your vivid description of the story from your youth: singing Grease, you playing saxophone, teenage antics . . . And, of course, I love how you applied the not-so-small lessons learned to our adult world. Good reminders and inspiration!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Dawn, thanks so much! It’s interesting… I find that many of the lessons I’m learning these days come from looking at aspects of life from the perspective of children and teenagers. There’s so much wisdom in living in the moment, which I find is often forgotten in adulthood!

  4. Betsy at Zen Mama says:

    It’s so funny reading your post! I was crossing a river about a year ago. It was Thanksgiving, a little chilly but still warm and we were on a trip to Sedona. I had to cross it because our car was on the other side. I got petrified as we crossed (it was knee deep) and I don’t know why. I did go across but I was shaking. I knew the worst thing that could happen is I would get wet. Intellectually I couldn’t understand where the fear was coming from. It had to be age! So it was a good lesson for me!!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Betsy! Hmmm…. so interesting! I wonder if it’s because you were doing something totally against the grain, and maybe that made it subconsciously scary? It’s surprising how sometimes we have reactions that we have no control over, even when we know (rationally) that all is okay. A few years back I sat down on a lounge chair on a friend’s deck, and sat right on a bee (or wasp, not sure which). I got stung, of course, but the weird thing is that after I went inside and took care of it, I couldn’t stop crying – it wasn’t hurting much anymore at all, but I kept crying. And as soon as I calmed down for a second, I’d start all over again. My brain knew I was okay, and I was making a concerted effort to (mentally) tell myself to stop the tears, but my body wasn’t listening. Maybe it’s because it was the first time I had been stung, I don’t know. But I digress…

      Anyway, I try to remind myself (which takes real effort sometimes) that it’s actually really good to do something outside the norm. Gives such a great sense of aliveness (kind of like the beginner’s mind, right?). 🙂

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