I've thought this for a long time. I remember trying to articulate this world view as early as high school. Anytime I try to explain it, though, I end up coming across as a hedonist, which isn't true at all. I believe everyone in this world should have the same chance at happiness, and am willing to work quite hard to bring the world closer to that state. I delay gratification as well as anyone- in fact, probably better than most. I went to graduate school, after all. I take a long, inclusive view on being happy. Something that makes me happy now but makes me miserable later isn't really a good deal. Something that makes me happy but makes someone else miserable probably isn't a good idea, either. But I don't really believe in an afterlife, and despite my frequent invocation of karmic retribution on drivers who cut me off in rush hour traffic, I don't really believe in reincarnation, either. I believe that this life is all I have, so I should make the most of it.
I believe in goals, both long and short term. I love writing to do lists. But I think that the path to those goals can be- should be, even- enjoyable. I want to enjoy the journey. This makes my husband snicker a bit, since I am not really that good at enjoying actual journeys. I love to see new places, but I often struggle to enjoy the process of getting there. In my defense, sometimes the process isn't that much fun. I had no problem enjoying the ride down the river to Taman Negara National Park in Malaysia. It was a three hour ride in a longboat with hard wooden seats and it was awesome.
Those are Hubby's hairy legs, not mine.
It was hard to find much to enjoy in the ride from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok in the back of an old minivan with malfunctioning air conditioning. (Mercifully, I don't have a picture of that.)
So maybe it should be no surprise to me that I sometimes struggle to enjoy the more metaphorical journeys in life, too. I look at my daughters and can't believe how big they are getting (Petunia will be one on Saturday!) but at the same time, find it hard to raise my eyes above the daily routine to really enjoy these years. An incident from earlier tonight illustrates this perfectly. Hubby was holding Petunia who was reaching out for me. I reached for her, and he ran away. She giggled. No, chortled. Pumpkin tried to chase him, but slipped and fell and started crying. So I picked Pumpkin up and chased them down the hall. Both girls (and Hubby) were laughing. I was annoyed because Hubby kept stepping on my toes. WTF? He was wearing flip flops- it didn't really hurt. I think I was actually bothered because there were dishes to do and bathes to give, and this wasn't going to get those things done. But that scene in the hallway- it is the meaning of life.
I love my girls, my husband, my life. But I need to enjoy these things more. This is why we took the trip to Coronado on Sunday, and it is why I'm posting Zenbits every week again. Zenbits are photos that make me smile and make my shoulders relax. They remind me that it really is a wonderful world, and any journey through it is worth enjoying.
Tomorrow, we're going to pick the girls up from day care and head to a playground instead of driving home. Then we're going to go out to eat instead of doing the usual Dinner during Dora routine. My life isn't perfect, and I'll keep trying to make it better. It certainly isn't as carefree as it used to be. But overall, it is pretty darn good. So it is time for me to enjoy the journey.