“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.”
Recently, I’ve gotten in the habit of listening to podcasts. Lots and lots of podcasts. I listened as I got ready in the morning. As I drove to work. As I walked the dog. As I hiked in the woods. As I rode my bike.
This podcast habit started innocently enough with the simple desire to learn more. Like most people, I’m busier than I’d like to be. I knew that if I wanted to learn more, I’d have to squeeze it into a very limited amount of free time. Podcasts seemed the perfect way to do this.
At first, this worked perfectly. I found a few podcasts I liked and listened as I got ready for work and during my commute to the office. I enjoyed the podcasts, and I learned a lot.
And then I jumped into the deep end.
(People who know me well know that I tend to do this quite frequently.)
In my quest to learn more, I filled just about every quiet moment of my day with someone else’s thoughts, and there wasn’t any room left for my own.
Once I recognized this, I scaled back.
I no longer walk the dog with earbuds; I no longer ride my bike with my Bluetooth headset; I no longer fill my hikes with anything other than the sounds of nature.
And it’s made a world of difference. Now during these times, I fill my head with my own thoughts; I work out difficult scenes in my book; I make life decisions. And sometimes, I just enjoy the present moment.
For example, this last Memorial Day, I went out for a mid-morning bike ride and focused on the moments that brought me joy. There ended up being a lot of them:
- Riding through a snowstorm of cotton tree seeds
- The honking of Canadian geese as they skim the surface of the Towne Lake
- A young family on a bike ride: Mom in the front, Dad in the back, and three little girls sandwiched safely in between
- A dad showing his eager little boy how to cast his fishing line into the water
- Couples walking the park path, hand-in-hand
- The musty scent of dirt, damp from the previous day’s rain
- The tickle of a cotton tree seed on my arm before I brush it away
- The smell of BBQ at a holiday family gathering
- Refreshing ice water kept cold by the amazing technology of my Hydro Flask
- People saying good morning and smiling as I ride by
- The sound of my wheels moving over a wooden bridge
- A yellow butterfly flitting around my bike basket
- Pausing at the end of the trail to listen to the birds
- The sound of two young teenage boys laughing as they enjoy a game of Frisbee golf
- An unexpected breeze cooling my skin as I sit on a park bench
How about you? Have you taken time lately to look for moments that bring you joy? If so, what did you find?