- November 28, 2010 -- Written by: Tim Johnson
Everyone has the choice to enjoy every single day as it comes. No matter how you’re feeling or what your circumstances are; no matter what has happened or what is happening in the immediate future or immediate past, as a human being, you have the privilege to make the choice to appreciate the present moment.
When I was about 16 years old, I realized that I could make a choice at any given moment that would determine whether I was content or unhappy. If I made the right choice, I would be absolutely content with myself and my surroundings no matter what. If I made the wrong choice, each moment of anger and misfortune would be compounded on one another as the day went on. I would be more prone to hurting myself, breaking things, making mistakes, etc. I never really knew what the “choice” was, or how to define it but, with practice, I knew that it was as easy as flipping a switch.
I stood in the parking lot this morning stretching in the cool morning mist, as I like to do after the commute to the office, and as I took a nice long breath of fresh air, a van came careening into the parking lot and pulled into a spot right beside me. Even thought there was no one else in the parking lot, the van still missed the spot and had to pull out and pull back in. Then I listened as the front bumper crunched up onto the curb and was dragged off when the driver pulled back.
He got out of the car and shook his head, saying to me “It’s gonna be one of those days, isn’t it?” Then proceeded to walk quickly toward the building with his briefcase in hand and head down at the sidewalk. He walked past this:
Had he not noticed what a gorgeous morning it was? What was he thinking about so hard that took his attention so far away from his surroundings (not to mention his driving…)? Always thinking about the previous mishap, misfortune, or feeling, he was never present enough to prevent the next. I can imagine what kind of a day he is having today (although I’d rather not).
To this day, I continue to practice flipping this switch. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but it comes more easily every day. And I can often see this turning point in others’ days as well. A point at which, if they closed their eyes, wiped the chalkboard clean of all the past misfortune and anguish, took out a fresh piece of chalk and opened their eyes, that they would be able to start fresh from this moment on.
It is man’s natural state to be content, it requires only attentiveness.