I have lately felt like I’m on a merry-go-round that is going faster and faster. Life, family, work, church—it is all spinning. It seems everything is a blur. Sometimes I hang on, throw back my head, and laugh with joyful abandon. Sometimes I scream. It’s exciting. It keeps me feeling alive, young…and exhausted.
When we were kids, we clamored to get on the merry-go-round. We would hang on for dear life and giggle and let ourselves go—hair flying, friends screeching, begging for the thing to go faster. But even back then we had to get off after a few go arounds or risk losing our lunch on our teachers’ shoes.
Sunday afternoon I got off the ride. I stopped, napped, relaxed, and had a moment to think about how busy life has been. It has been fantastic. I have partied, feasted, worked, gone to concerts, packed, road tripped, shopped, cooked, cleaned, played, and loved on family and friends in the last few weeks.
I am a big believer in living a full-out life. “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!” That is exactly how I want to live.
And that is what I’ve been doing.
But sometimes full-out is too much. Things start spinning out of control. It is easy to get caught up in the blur with its flashes of light and distorted images. It’s a fascinating escape from a humdrum life. Too much of it though will make you sick. Remember that feeling when you were a kid? When you were ready to hurl and you begged the kids pushing the merry-go-round or the carousel operator to just stop already? When that happens, I have started paying more attention to the things that aren’t rushing by—the people on the ride with me and the thing that I cling to for safety. Family, friends, God.
All we had to do when we were children was turn our eyes back to the things right in front of us: the bar, the wood, the carousel horse, the person by our side. No matter how fast we were spinning, if we concentrated on them, we wouldn’t fly off the ride or toss up our cookies.
Maybe that is the answer for my adult life. I can enjoy the ride more if I don’t spend so much of the time caught up in what is going on around me. If I halve the time I spend concentrating on the flashes of light and blurry images and double the attention I give to those right beside me, maybe I will have a more fulfilling life without going faster and faster. All I have to do is pay attention to the right things. I can do that.
Geronimo. Let’s go!
I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live.