The Secret of Life is enjoying the passage of time.

The lyric goes, “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.  Any fool can do it, there ain’t nothing to it” Oh James Taylor, you’re so smart… if only it were that easy though!

As my two boys are getting bigger and developing more personality, one thing stands out to me: they love living life.  They’re such happy little guys.  Sure, they don’t have two kids, a mortgage, a couple of jobs, and other responsibilities and stresses to bring them down.  What’s not to enjoy?

I think it’s bigger than that though… or maybe more simple… either way, James Taylor has got it right.  Their secret is that they simply enjoy the passage of time.  They’re able to live in the moment without worrying about what happened yesterday, what’s happening later today, and what’s going to happen tomorrow.

I think it also helps that they generally have no concept of time.  I remember the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever taken.  Me and a buddy took the camper to the beach for a week.  When we arrived we took off our watches, and being 15+ years ago, we had no cell phones or any other way to track the time.  We spent the entire week not knowing or caring what time it was, or having to worry about being any place at any certain time.  We woke when we woke, ate when we ate, and slept when we slept.  We simply enjoyed the passage of time, and it was probably the most relaxed I’ve been in my adult life. 

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My buddy Rob, myself, and the Free Spirit Cub camper on the most relaxing vacation of my life

Certainly it’s unrealistic to think that I could live my life that way.  When I’m at work there are often times when I’m in and out of various meetings for hours at a time.  Without paying attention to the time, I would be doing quite a disservice to the folks I work with.  When I’m taking care of the boys during the day, I do need to keep an eye toward naptime, and lunch time, or I would pay the consequences, don’t I?  But maybe I can find moments during the day to simply enjoy the passage of time like my kids.
On shifts where I don’t have meetings or other obligations, I could avoid looking at the clock.  It’s not like the end of the night is going to come and go and I’ll forget to go home.  Eventually everyone will be leaving and maintenance will come around with the vacuum.  On days where the boys and I are just hanging out at the house, I’ll avoid checking the clock every twenty minutes.  It’s not like I’ll miss the tell tale signals that they’re starting to get hungry for lunch, and sleepy for nap.

I think this is a case of something that our kids can teach us, instead of the other way around.  I’m not saying to amble through life like a three year old.  That would be irresponsible.

Sure my toddler may throw a fit if it’s nap time and he doesn’t want to take a nap, but he doesn’t let the anticipation of it ruin his morning.  Likewise, once he realizes his nap is an inevitability, he calms down and gets over it.  He lives in the moment, enjoys the good times, and deals with the bad times when they come along.  God bless him, I wish it came to me that easy.

So try to learn a lesson from your kids, and James Taylor, and just enjoy the passage of time.

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