The other day, I was driving to work, and I started thinking about leaving. Not leaving home or my job or my husband. No – about going out to things that I was really looking forward to and thinking while I’m there about leaving. I started to wonder why that happens. And what I can do to prevent it from happening in the future. Granted, sometimes you go somewhere and you really are not having a good time, or it wasn’t quite what you thought it would be, and you legitimately want to leave. But other times, I just feel like leaving for no reason. Ask my husband about my weird desire to leave concerts/sporting events/shows at least 30 minutes before the end (sometimes more). Sometimes I even feel this way when I’m the one PERFORMING the concert! I guess I just start thinking about all the other things I have to do; about how long it will take me to get home; about what time I have to wake up the next day; about how and when I’m going to fit in a run. The worst part is that these are not awkward/weird/unpleasant events. These things are FUN! I should be enjoying myself!!! So then why do I often want to leave? I made a conscious decision at that moment: to get to the bottom of this, and to no longer want to leave.
In order to do this, I started thinking about the things I’ve done that I never wanted to leave – those events and occasions that you just wish would stretch on into the wee hours of the morning and then some. What about those things was different? Some involved my husband and when we first met. Ok, that makes perfect sense – that new love and all the excitement and butterflies that come with it. I won’t count those things for now. But what other events did I wish would never end? I remembered back to a Peter Gabriel concert in 2002. It was an amazing show, and I could have sat there and watched him all night. I remembered a concert from high school where I played Eponine from Les Miz and I did not want that performance to end. I remembered pretty much every gig with my old band Sonic Girl, and I never wanted any of them to end. I remembered my wedding day. I remembered a Gillian Welch concert, also some time around 2002. I remembered pretty much all of my classes in Pastry School. I remembered laughing with a couple of friends all night about random things that no one else would think were funny (like how old Ben Franklin would be if he were alive today). I remembered playing and camping at the Newport Folk Festival in 2004.
So what do all of these things have in common? For starters, they seemed magical. There was some kind of magical energy at each of these events that made me wish they would never end. But I think it’s more than that. All of these events had two things in common which made them “magical.” Two thing that have to occur in order for me to wish they would go on forever:
1. They are things I am passionate about
2. I have to be fully present
I HAVE TO BE FULLY PRESENT. Sure, being passionate about it is also important, but I could be enjoying so much more in life if only I allowed myself to be fully there to enjoy it! That’s the key. To allow myself to actually enjoy these things while they are happening and not spend my time thinking and worrying about the next thing. Every event can be magical in a sense, if we let it be.
This weekend, I went camping. I hadn’t been camping in many years, because last time – you guessed it – I wanted to leave. This time, it was different. I wanted to stay. I wanted to breathe the air and enjoy the trees and watch the fire. It was relaxing. It was fun. And i never once wanted to leave.
I’m sure there will be times and events that I will want to leave. But I promise to try my darndest to be there and enjoy each moment as it’s happening from now on. It’s gonna take some time, and some practice. But it’s definitely going to be worth it.