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Friday, February 5, 2010

Life Is

"Life is what happens when you're not paying attention."

Somebody said this. I'm sure others said it before him/her too. I've heard it a million times since. I have said it to others. But I just read it over 15 times and still have no idea what it means. "Life is what happens?" Huh? "...when you're not paying attention?" So then what happens when you are paying attention?

Like right now. I'm really paying attention. My hands are a little cold. My face itches. It's Friday and there are some options and some plans for the weekend. EGB and the DQ are asleep. The news is in my head. I'm staring at this screen really hard. This is life? Is it happening? Yes. It all is.

I will say this though. As long as we're here--life will happen. That's set. It's a resume. It's potentially quite mundane. Have you ever tried reading resumes? Our lives on paper are a series of lists of events and happenings. It's merely a flowchart. No matter how exciting the flowchart's still a flowchart.

But it's the meaningful life that makes it worth happening. We control meaning. It's our free will to assess life and attribute meaning to our resume. But most of us don't. It's a burden to do so. Therefore, most things just happen without any true attention paid to them. It's just chalked up as life and added on to our ever growing list.

This blog? Is it "life happening" or is it "true attention"? I'd like to think both. Why do we take pictures? So we won't forget. So that the moment won't get lost in our seemingly infinite web of lists. There is now a captured visual image outside of our heads to ensure that if we should ever want to attach a real meaning to the moment. We can.

The pendulum could swing. We could spend so much of our time capturing moments that there is never time to attribute any meaning to them. The obsession to attach value to it all is equally as ineffective, and potentially more maddening, than blindly building life's resume.

Maybe the quote should be, "Life is always happening. In fact, your life will have already happened. And that's ok. Don't always pay attention. It's overrated. But pay attention sometimes. It's worth it."

I don't think that's a quote that will told a million times, but I like it better.

The picture below an example of what I'm talking about. EGB and I doing what people do. Eat. However, it was the first time we've ever sat at a picnic table and shared a sandwich. Just me and her. Father and monkey. It seemed normal and natural. She took a bite. Then I took a bite. She requested chips and I provided.

But it wasn't until now when I looked at these pictures that I was able to transcend the actual moment and realize that true love is sharing a sandwich with a child. (For the record--I believe it helps if it is your own child or someone similar. I don't think you'll get the same emotions from sharing a sandwich with a random child. I may be wrong, but that's my initial thought.)

It was just the fluidity of the moment. The sandwich was passed back and forth. Two humans fulfilling a primal need. An occasional glance towards each other. Legs were dangling from the bench. Not much was said. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

21 months ago I would have been eating that sandwich by myself.

Quit hogging that sandwich big boy!

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