When my son was barely four, I took him to a local carnival at the park. There were about ten rides for children his age. We waited in line for the first ride. His hands were up and moving in excitement and he had a big grin on his face in anticipation. As soon as the gate opened he ran to one of the small cars and climbed in. Just as this ride was beginning my kid pointed to a different ride. It was as if he couldn’t wait for the ride to end so he could go on another one. This went on for several rides. While on the train ride a bit later he was yelling that he wanted to go on the boat ride next. Without even thinking, I yelled, “Ryan, enjoy the ride you are on!”
When the train ride finished we took a break to get a drink and some fries. Although he was just a small kid, he was beginning to understand some concepts of reasoning. I wanted to make this a teachable moment. Actually, I wanted him to vividly remember the day.
I asked him about the first ride he went on: Did he like it? What was the color of his car? Did it go straight or did it go up and down? He really couldn’t answer any of my questions. I assured him that he was going to go on all the rides before we left the park. I then asked just one thing from him: “Whatever ride you are on pay close attention to what you are doing.” I told him that at the end of the day I wanted him to tell me how one ride differed from another and why he liked one more than another.
I continued to remind him each time he came around the turns to have fun. His body slowed down to the point where he was beginning to live in the moment and enjoy the ride he was on.
I am guilty of having wished away a work week to get to the weekend. I have, on more than one occasion, counted the days until vacation. As a kid I would mark off my calendar in anticipation of summer vacation. My mother told me that I was wishing away my life by doing this. I realize now that I had spent too many years thinking of future events, not the life event I was experiencing at the time.
I remind myself often to enjoy the ride I am on. After all, life is comprised of little incidents, big occasions, forgettable moments and memorable times.
Sick days happen. Bad stuff happens. Disappointments happen. Life has its ups and downs. REALLY enjoying the good times will help balance the not-so-good times.
Life goes by so quickly. If you aren’t taking time to “smell the roses”, try doing it. Make each moment last. Don’t just walk through your life. Laugh harder. Smile bigger. Be silly. Have fun…not just from time to time, but each and every day that you can.
My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.
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or get a printed copy mid-summer when it is released.
Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will teach you how to enjoy YOUR ride and improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!
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