While a family of four frolicked in the surf a few yards away from me, my father sat upstairs in our beautiful, beachside rented house — fully clothed, playing a game of chess with himself on the dining room table.
His excuse all this week for not enjoying our beachside haven is that the mosquitos gave him some kind of infection and the surf is too smelly and full of bacteria to swim in.
It’s all about perception. It’s about living in the now.
To my almost 80-year-old father, this week at the beach is everything his memory of a perfect week at the beach isn’t. He is living in the past … comparing this beach to others in his memory.
Meanwhile, the family frolicking nearby in the surf is very much living in the moment. To them, this is the perfect beach vacation. Perhaps they are from a country where there are no beaches. To them, this is what a beach is supposed to smell like because they don’t have anything else to compare it with.
And even if they have had other beach vacations in the past, this moment is perfect in and of itself because they are together enjoying it.
Who cares if it smells a bit out of the ordinary. Who cares if everything isn’t the way it’s ‘supposed to be.’ There is no such thing as supposed to be. There is only now. And now is perfect.
I am trying not to be judgemental. But for crying out loud, just enjoy yourself and stop whining.
Stop demanding that everything be perfect. Stop demanding that everything fit into a perfect mold. Stop dragging everyone down just because your expectations are not being met.
Have no expecations. Just be and enjoy.
Does aging make people forget how to be spontaneous? If so, it’s a lesson I want to remember so that I catch myself before it happens.
Sometimes I forget I’m fifty and I do things that 50-year-olds aren’t ‘supposed’ to do. I hope I keep on forgetting.
This morning I heard of a 70-year-old woman who graduated from the police academy in Fort Myers. I guess she forgot that 70-year-olds weren’t supposed to do that.
Every day people forget that they’re not supposed to do things. And those are the people who are creating excellence in their lives and the lives of others.
I hope I always forget how old I am. I hope I always live in the now. And I especially hope that I can forgive myself and others when I fail to meet those expectations. Because at the end of the day, even the best intentions are expectations destined to fail … once in a while.
And that’s when we most need to cut ourselves some slack.