The female news anchor was rejoicing that cooler temperatures will soon be in North Carolina.
My Pinterest feed was chock full of Halloween craft ideas.
A magazine arrived loaded with every tasty dish I should plan on making to ensure a wonderful Thanksgiving will be had by all those seated around my table.
I received an email advising me that today is buy one get one free fall drink day at a coffee shop
I received yet another email informing me not to miss out because the tickets are on sale now for a Christmas Holiday Light Spectacular.
And it is only September 8th.
Now, although I enjoy a good Pumpkin Spice Latte as much as anyone, I began to wonder why is it that we as a society feel the need to rush from one thing to another and in turn through life. It seems that we are constantly chasing after something, whether it's the next holiday, a different temperature, a bigger house, a better job, a new relationship, or some other bright shiny thing. We believe that if we can just get to the next thing, that thing will be better than what we have now and we'll be happier.
But will we be?
We make ourselves live like squirrels on crack while life passes us by. At our Labor Day BBQs we talk of football, make Thanksgiving plans, and race home to put up our fall, and then Halloween, decorations. We leave our Thanksgiving tables to shop for Christmas. We take down our Christmas decorations for spring cleaning and when spring comes we complain about the rain and long for the lazy hazy days of summer that we jam-pack with activities and vacations. Before we know it we are back at our Labor Day BBQs planning for Thanksgiving, wondering where the year went, and trying to remember what we did.
Does this sound like happy to you?
Maybe to be happier we just need to learn to live in the present.
Enter our friend the dragonfly and the words of The Ghost of Christmas Present in the 1970 movie Scrooge, an adaptation of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol. In one scene, The Ghost tells Scrooge . . .
"There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish.
The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have.
Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not here anymore."
As morbid as that statement may sound at first, some may interpret it to mean that The Ghost is telling the protagonist to rush through life, to not live every moment to its fullest. However, the dragonfly does not live like he would believe that thought to be true. As a matter of fact, any movie-watching capable dragonfly would believe that The Ghost of Christmas Present is telling Scrooge, and all of us watching, to cherish each moment, to be fully present in each moment, and to live every day as if it were our last because in a moment it can be. You see, the dragonfly lives a majority of its 2-week life span as an immature nymph, unable to fly, and because of this, he needs to experience all life has to offer, including eating and mating in a very short time. He has no choice but to focus, which gives him the ability to see beyond his limitations, quickly change based on a level of mental and emotional maturity and understand the deeper meaning of his life. By being fully present in the moment, he is able to slow down, pay attention, and enjoy everything around him. He lives life to the fullest and he likely has no regrets.
Now apply this to humans.
Think about a time when you wanted to take the perfect picture of an animal doing something out of the ordinary, or your child looking so silly, or a sunset with beautiful shades of pink and orange filling the sky. Now think about how many times while you were fidgeting with your camera that the moment passed by. It's OK, it happens to all of us. Now think about what you remember about that moment. Is your memory about the joy or warmth you felt in the moment, or is it about the frustration or sadness you felt for not capturing what you believe was the perfect, and likely Instagrammable, picture?
Animals move quickly.
Facial expressions last but a second.
Holidays are days on the calendar that come and go.
Time will pass on its own without help from any of us.
But the sights, the sounds, the smells, the experiences, the people, and the way you feel are the memories that will live on long after the moments are gone.
The dragonfly has long been a symbol of change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization. So the next time you think about doing something other than what you are doing, be like our Anisoptera friend and have the courage to be present in the moment, let go of the inner rush, and experience more heightened emotions. The joy, connection, and maybe even love that you feel will show you what true happiness really is.
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