paying attention


listening to: svefn-g-englar - sigur rós

you know that whole "you don't know what you've got till it's gone", "don't take things for granted" thing? for many years i've been trying to be more present with and appreciative of the good moments, the simple moments, sometimes even the painful but real moments because you just never know when it's your last time. most of the time it's really hard to do, because the potential reason for this being my last time was hard to imagine. i guess probably an accident? i might not be here tomorrow? but that's so unlikely and nebulous, we don't really Expect accidents. that's why they're so shocking when they do happen. it's always been some kind of abstract thought experiment.

visiting my dying grandma last month gave me a new perspective: even if i'd like to believe i'm going to live to old age in relatively good health - that's the assumption, right? - that comes with certain trade-offs, loss of mobility, dulling of the senses, gradual loss of independence etc. even if i live to 90 - how can i be sure which is the last time i'm hearing/able to hear birdsong? when will be the last time i can hold a book and read it with my own eyes? even if i travel with the frequency i do now (not very frequent at all), how many of those journeys will be flights (vs train), how many actual individual opportunities will i ever have to see the sea of clouds from above? i can probably count them on both hands.

idk, somehow my appreciation went from "woah, i haven't done this in ages, it's so refreshing/fun/amazing to experience it again", through "this is definitely the last time i'm seeing this person", to "there is a very real limit on how many times i can experience x thing", and it's finally penetrated deeper, into the soul-type understanding that drives behavior, not just thought-level understanding that still requires intentional acting upon. you really have to soak life up. yeah, even the "boring", most "normal" parts. you have to do your silly little projects, for the sheer reason of "simply" being able to.


disclaimer: i hope i'm not coming across as ableist and pitying. i acknowledge we are all capable of living a full satisfying life at many stages of life and in various configurations of bodily and mental ability. but there is no denying that some ways of being are more difficult, and made further so by the type of world we live in. this is an exercise in awareness of privilege.

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