As I sit and think about this past year, I think about how fast it all went by!
When I was young I’d always hear adults say “time flies!” As a kid, time crept slowly. Time seemed to meander by, sit down, have a visit, maybe eat some milk and cookies, and then finally carry on. The only time it didn’t seem to go by quickly was when I was playing in the woods. You see, I grew up in a cottage type house on a 7-acre wooded area in rural Indiana. Whenever my two older brothers and younger sister would get too rambunctious in the house, my mom would always call out, “go play outside!” So we’d head into the woods. It didn’t matter the season: spring, summer, fall, or winter, we’d get the right clothes on, and head out.
As a kid, the woods seemed MASSIVE. I would go out and sit as quietly as I could next to a tree and see if I could watch the squirrels, birds, rabbits, deer and other wood creatures without disturbing them, making sure I made as little noise as possible so I could see them as naturally as possible. A fly on a tree in the woods. Watching animals function naturally without human disruption.
Back in my day —am I old enough to say “back in my day”?— we didn’t have cell phones or iPads. The only portable technology we had at that time was my “futuristic” non-skip CD player —which still managed to skip—. When we went into the woods, that was it. It was quiet, still, and you only heard the sounds of the woods which seemed to stretch on forever. No Facebook or Instagram to scroll through, no YouTube videos to peruse, no streaming Netflix to binge-watch; just quiet, peaceful woods. Nature.
One of my favorite quotes that I try to remember as often as I can when life gets crazy is by Henry David Thoreau:
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
As I grow up and I start to catch myself saying, “Wow! This year went by SO fast!” I realize that I’m becoming that adult that I always envied as a kid…and sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not tapping out of being an adult, there are just times that I miss that simplicity of sitting in the woods without a care in the world. Slowing down. Breathing in the fresh air and being…still. We have so much pressure put on us to be what others consider “successful.” The pressure that’s put on by ourselves and others. We live in a world where we can instantly and constantly compare ourselves to our peers, celebrities and people we look up to.
As we speed into the Christmas season, where there is tons of shopping, jumping from party to party, keeping a tight schedule to get everything done before the new year’s resolutions of 2020, I challenge each of us to find the simplistic joy and not get tangled up in those details that don’t matter. Those details that you think might be a big deal, but really aren’t. The details that when we get to the end of our lives, we won’t even remember. Slow down. Take a breath. Enjoy the people around you, and simplify, simplify.