My daughter comes with me each day to pick the children I nanny for up from school. I was in a very stressed, down state and a Mumford and Sons song came on, which I love but more amazingly my toddler does as well. She started dancing and I was literally laughing, genuinely had tears of laughter streaming down my face and I again remembered why the youngest people I know and the oldest people I know are usually the happiest. The children I personally know now (not during my school social work days) are just in the moment, no stress, happy, and find joy in the simplistic things because they do not know time yet. I said to Kayci today: “Hey, you have music class tomorrow!” Of course she replied: “Lets go now!” I always forget to not tell her about future events because she is at an age that she luckily can just live in the moment for today. As we get older, we lose that focus on the present moment and forget how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken for us. We spend more time planning for tomorrow than enjoying today. I am sure I will remember what a difficult time the past few months have been but I will not remember much from today except the laughter I had with Kayci singing and dancing to Mumford and Sons. Its odd that my toddler is the one to bring me back to what is truly important in life because as adults we complicate everything, when it can be pretty simple: especially with gratitude and an appreciation for time.
I had a memory today as I was driving home that I have been thinking of lately as one of the children I nanny for has trouble sleeping at night. I was a worrier since I can remember. I had a lot of things to worry about children should not have to but it was more than that: I never felt safe. I was petrified to go to sleep at night and would call my dad into my room at least ten times for made up excuses such as: water, read me a story, scratch my back, the usual. After a few months of us both not getting sleep he took me to my pediatrician. We waited in the waiting room for a long time and once with the doctor told her my issue with sleeping. First thing she said once my dad explained that I truly was afraid to sleep and worried non stop: “Have you tried letting her stay up later until she is tired? If Jessica isn’t tired, let her stay up and read or watch a movie.” I remember my dad laughing at the simplicity of her answer and the simplicity of the solution. No prescription needed for that. The method worked for a long time, probably up until my bike accident. But, how simple of a solution is that? “Try going to bed later.”
I think we as a society are really complicating our lives to a degree that we are unable to enjoy them. I do not care if you have chronic pain or not. If you are in a constant state of worry or fear, you are missing out on the little things that are the things you and your family will always remember. For example, I think I will remember years from now Kayci and I chasing the sun or moon home from work and her excitement when the sun hid behind a tree or house. She loves it. Just as I loved chasing rainbows with my Grandmother, La La and I was really looking for that gold at the end of the rainbow but never did find it. One of my all time favorite memories as a child was with my dad on a night I could not sleep. He was unable to sleep either so he said out of the blue at like midnight: “Jess, do you hear those sirens? It sounds like there is a fire somewhere. Come on, lets go for a bike ride!” I was so excited. I could not believe my dad and I were going on a bike ride in the middle of the night to chase fire engines. We ended up watching a restaurant burn down (ok, so that part is obviously sad for the owners but this was twenty years ago and I was just a kid.) It is one of my favorite memories of my childhood and how simple is that. I know me now if my dad or someone said at midnight: “Hey, wanna go for a bike ride?” I would start thinking about the next day and the things I needed to do and would get anxious and worried about not getting sleep on and on. I think I would still go though.
Are we making life too complicated? Especially us with chronic pain, isn’t life difficult enough? If anything we should be appreciating the little things because we know better than anyone how quickly a life can be taken from us. Just something to think about. Make sure you tell the people you love you love them no matter what. Trust me on this one. Life is short, we all need to come together to stop making it so damn complicated.