The beach was completely crowded. Kids running around. A dog chasing a ball, with his tongue dropped from his mouth. People were sunbathing in the hot august sun as two boys were building a sandcastle on the shore.
The girl didn’t notice any of it. She was consumed by her own thoughts. Looking down at the sand as her feet trampled on it. She was clearly not feeling well.
‘What’s going on?’ Her uncle asked. They were at the beach with the entire family, her parents were far ahead unable to hear her talk. Which she liked. She didn’t look at her uncle. ‘Nothing…’ She answered as she went right back into her thoughts.
Her uncle didn’t buy into it. He placed a soft and comforting arm around her shoulder. She looked at her uncle, he didn’t look at her he was simply smiling. He looked around the beach. Smiled at the people that passed. A ball rolled towards them, and her uncle looked around seeing where the ball came from. A group of young men waved and yelled. ‘Give it a good kick old man!’ They said.
Her uncle laughed and kicked the ball. It floated like the wind, right back to the boys. ‘Thanks, man!’ They yelled. ‘You’re welcome, not so bad for an old man huh?’ Her uncle replied. The boys laughed and continued their game.
The girl was curious. How could he enjoy this so much? They often came to the beach, and she was kinda bored with it. She’d seen all of this many times, her uncle did as well, yet he still… He seemed to be in love even though her aunt had passed away years ago.
The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present. -Alice Morse Earle
Step 1: Time is Running Out
‘Uncle?’ The girl asked.
‘Yes, dear?’ He replied, looking at the girl.
‘How come you can be so happy? I just looked at you just now and… Well… You were smiling all this time. Aren’t you bored of coming to the same beach, seeing the same people, the same sand, all year round?’ The girl asked.
‘I used to yes.’ The uncle answered.
‘Why are you still smiling then?’ The girl asked before her uncle could continue.
‘Because after your aunt passed away, I learned the value of life. I sort of fell in love with it, as I did years ago with your aunt.’ He smiled and a bright twinkle appeared in his eyes.
‘I noticed that, but how?’ The girl asked. ‘I can’t seem to enjoy the beach anymore. It’s boring, dull, and always the same.’
‘So why don’t you look around then? There must be something new? It can’t be that everything is the same all the time right?’ Her uncle said.
‘Well, yeah of course. It’s not always the same but it’s just that…’ The girl paused. ‘It’s just that I can’t appreciate those things anymore.’ She added.
‘Why not?’ Her uncle asked.
‘It’s boring to me. I could be doing so many more exciting things right now. I could go out with friends, or play games. Which both are very simple things yet certainly more exciting than walking on the beach.’ The girl paused for a moment, clearly wandering in thought.
‘I just really wished to be traveling the world, doing exciting things. To live my life, you know?’ She said.
‘I understand. You have the age to want those things. I did so too when I was your age, yet I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the money, nor the time to do it. But just like you, that thought of exploring the world was eating away at me. I started to enjoy less and less of my life.’ For a moment her uncle seemed to be sad. He quickly looked up again and smiled. ‘But your aunt has taught me something extraordinarily valuable.’
‘Which is?’ The girl eagerly interrupted.
‘I’m happy to share it with you. She never actually said it to me, nor did I realize it whilst she was alive. Only after she passed away did I realize what was eating away at me.’ He took a deep breath and stopped for a moment. Taking in the salty fresh air on the beach.
Her death taught me that my time is running out.
‘Her death taught me that my time is running out. Yours is too. Although you are young, it is running out. You could go on denying it, thinking that life is everlasting, but if you want to be able to say that you truly lived. Enjoyed every moment of your life. You shouldn’t be wasting your time away by thinking about all the things you should or could do. Or should have done. It’s just a waste of time to think about it.’ Her uncle said with a sad look on his face.
‘Why?’ The girl asked.
‘I always wanted to explore the world, just like you, yet I never had the chance to. For most of my life that expectation of life had been eating away at me. It took so many beautiful experiences with it, that I should have enjoyed, yet never enjoyed. I was too busy trying to live the exciting and thrilling life of my dreams.’
‘But isn’t that a good thing?’ The girl interrupted.
‘It is a great thing to have dreams, but it’s never a good idea to let them take your enjoyment of the present moment. You see my child, the first step towards falling in love with life is this: To see that your time is ending and that you should make the most of every moment you get. Not by doing the most exciting things on the planet, or traveling to every corner of the earth. Of course, these are great experiences, but they only make up a small amount of your life. I learned the hard way, that right now is a gift. That I have taken for granted for far too long. Your aunt never did, she enjoyed every minute of her life, which always comforts me when I think of her death.’ Her uncle sighed.
It is a great thing to have dreams, but it’s never a good idea to let them take your enjoyment of the present moment.
‘Just remember my dear, that although you are young, your time is ending. That you are dying a little every minute. You’d better enjoy every moment of your life before there are none to be experienced anymore.’ He looked at her and smiled.
Let go a little and just let life happen. Because sometimes the truths you can’t change, end up changing you and helping you grow.
Step 2: Let it All Happen
‘But…’ The girl hesitated for a moment. ‘Wouldn’t it be better to try to control our lives and make our dreams come true? Wouldn’t that make us fall in love with life even more?’ She asked. Her uncle chuckled.
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t want to make your question sound stupid. It’s just that I thought exactly like you young girl.’ He pushed her closer to him giving her a soft hug.
‘Of course, as young kids, we want to strive for our dreams and make them happen. But what happens to the road up the mountain? If the top of the mountain resembles our dreams. Wouldn’t the journey up the mountain be a complete waste of time?’ The uncle asked.
‘No, because it led us towards our goals didn’t it?’ The girl returned the question.
‘It does lead us towards our dreams and goals, but what if you achieved them? Would you say all of a sudden your life would be beautiful and you’d right away fall in love with it?’ Her uncle asked.
‘Yes, I do think so.’ She answered.
‘But what if the road towards achieving your dreams took you years. Ten years for example, maybe even more. Would you make that sacrifice of not falling in love with your life before reaching your dream?’ He looked at the girl, waiting for an answer.
‘Hmm… If you put it that way…’ She thought for a moment. ‘But can’t we enjoy the journey and the goal?’ The asked.
What if the road towards achieving your dreams took you years. Ten years for example, maybe even more. Would you make that sacrifice of not falling in love with your life before reaching your dream?
Her uncle smiled. ‘That’s exactly what I was gonna say. We can indeed. We should actually.’
‘Well, then why shouldn’t we control our lives to make it go the way we want it to go?’ The girl interrupted.
‘If we control our lives to make everything go as we please that would mean when things don’t go as we like, we won’t enjoy life wouldn’t we?’ The uncle didn’t wait for an answer. ‘Working towards our dreams is a great thing, but trying to control our journey is the worst thing one can do. Just like a mountain climber has to always adjust his route up the mountain according to how much snow has fallen, or the conditions of the weather. So do we have to adjust our course towards our dreams. If we do that. If we just let life happen the way it should happen, and adjust accordingly, you’ll see that many of the setbacks will actually be blessings. Lessons. To help you further on your journey.’ The girl frowned and thought about it for a moment.
Just like a mountain climber has to always adjust his route up the mountain according to how much snow has fallen, or the conditions of the weather. So do we have to adjust our course towards our dreams. If we do that. If we just let life happen the way it should happen, and adjust accordingly, you’ll see that many of the setbacks will actually be blessings.
‘So just like right now, I had to go through this in order to learn these two steps to fall in love with life?’ She asked.
‘Exactly. Everything in life serves a purpose. When we try to control life we won’t see the blessings of setbacks. When we let go of control, and let life play out the way it wants to play out those lessons become clear and they will help us on our journey. In fact, the journey becomes thrilling doing this, because you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to get to the top. You just know you will, and keep on moving upwards the best way possible.’ The uncle chuckled. “Great advice.” He thought to himself.
A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses ~ Chinese proverb
Step 3: Help Will Always Return
‘So then, there are two steps? To remember time is running out, and to let life happen?’ The girl asked.
‘Exactly, but there is a third.’ Her uncle said.
‘Which is?’ She asked after her uncle didn’t continue his story.
‘To help others.’ He answered.
‘Why would this help me fall in love with my life?’ The girl asked.
‘If you help others, a little bit of that kindness and love will stay with you. You see, so many people think that if we freely give to others, helping them, without expecting anything in return, we are giving away parts of ourselves. That we shouldn’t give everything we have to give. What they never realize is that when we help others in some way that help returns to us. So the more you help others, the more you’ll see that others help you.’ Her uncle smiled.
If you help others, a little bit of that kindness and love will stay with you.
‘Just like you did with those boys?’ She asked.
‘Exactly. I helped them with such a small gesture as kicking back the ball, but in return they made me smile. Now isn’t that a great exchange?’ He said and began laughing.
‘Oh, man have I made my life complicated.’ He said after he was done laughing. ‘I always believed I had to control everything, and that I should help only myself. I couldn’t have been more wrong about something. Life is beautiful as it is, and our dreams are only part of the journey. It’s just that we should enjoy and see the beauty of the entire journey. Isn’t it all a thrilling and exciting adventure to be alive?’ She had never seen her uncle this happy before. She smiled and felt that something had transformed within her, she wasn’t surprised, after all her uncle was a great teacher.
Everything is a gift of the universe – even joy, anger, jealously, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment. Ken Keyes Jr
Let’s never forget that the most important thing in life is to love it. To fall in love with it like we would with the love of our lives. I know that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, that things are bad, and you get in a rut. But the way out isn’t to keep trying to change your life. The way out of low points is to learn to even fall in love with them. To see the thrilling task of finding solutions, of bringing about change.
The way out of low points is to learn to even fall in love with them. To see the thrilling task of finding solutions, of bringing about change.
I think I’ve taken life way too seriously before. Thinking that everything bad that happened aught to be changed. That to enjoy my life, and to fall in love with it everything had to be perfect. But now I realize that everything is perfect, but that perfect also includes struggles and problems, just to keep the journey fun and exciting.
I realize that everything is perfect, but that perfect also includes struggles and problems, just to keep the journey fun and exciting.
So what’s the moral? That everything in this universe is a gift, and that we should fall in love with every aspect of it. Because today we live. Let’s make the most of it.