Just let me “BE”.
When I was younger, once in a while I might catch a glimpse of my mother atypically “nagging” my father on one of his characteristic traits, often his response would be a simple, yet witty and sarcastic: “…just let me BE.” In other words, just let me exist exactly how I am in the present moment – don’t try to change or manipulate me, I’m happy right now under these exact circumstances. This might be perceived as profound… or perhaps lazy? Making changes to your character certainly requires effort and focus, especially if it is a behavioural change that someone else desires (…probably more than you do.) Needless to say, those nagged-about behaviours did not often change, or even shift in another direction for that matter. My dad was OK with it… and at the end of the day, the main object is really to be OK with yourself, how you are in the present moment, right?
At the present moment, I am sitting, typing, and quietly reflecting on my Sunday afternoon, which could have been going a very different way if the circumstances changed even one degree over this past Friday evening. On the way home from a quiet dinner with my husband, we came remarkably close to being involved in a terrible car accident. We were simply having a casual conversation while approaching an intersection of which the speed limit is posted as 80 kilometres per hour, and my husband noticed another vehicle approaching and entering the intersection quickly from the crossroad. His light was red, ours was green. We were on our way through it. The other driver flew through the red light and my husband was somehow able to manoeuvre through the intersection, but our bumpers grazed slightly. The other vehicle continued – probably travelling around 90-100 kilometres per hour. The rest of the details can be spared, as they aren’t important – but the moral of the story is that we could have been seriously injured or worse, had our circumstances been even slightly different. If I (or anyone else) were driving, for example, I likely would have only utilized the brakes and hoped for the best – if that were the case, we would have smashed into the other vehicle without a doubt. Alternatively, if my husband didn’t notice and we were even a few feet further into the intersection, we would have been directly t-boned by the opposing vehicle. Either of these scenarios would have made for a much different outcome, for my husband, for myself, and for our unborn baby. I am currently 9 months pregnant, and was sitting in the passenger seat with my feet elevated on the dash. Had we hit or been hit worse than we were, the airbags would have most certainly went off, posing an even bigger threat and potential harm to myself and our baby. We were exceptionally lucky. We were remarkably unharmed. And I can’t help but notice how drastically different my Sunday would have been, if things were a even slightly different in that one, insignificant, individual moment in time. Curious why the other driver wasn’t paying close enough attention? He was texting.
This experience has opened my eyes to many things. The first of which I believe everyone needs a fresh reminder – driving a vehicle is an enormous responsibility. Under the wrong circumstances, someone could be seriously injured or killed by a moving vehicle. If you aren’t “in the moment” and paying close attention at all times, a small mistake can turn into a monumental error. Cell phones have posed one of the worst threats to focused driving that we have seen in a very long time. Second, I realized how trivial some of the things I spend my time worrying about really are. Any prior feelings of frustration or disagreement between myself and my husband were radically shifted. Suddenly, someone forgetting to vacuum or put the toilet seat down didn’t seem to matter much. Feelings of frustration were replaced with feelings of gratitude and thankfulness, and the realization that we should both be spending more time focusing on appreciating one another, and sharing our feelings openly about it. At the risk of sounding terribly cliche… “life’s too short.”
So, I encourage you to stop and think about the things that really matter to you in your life right now. “Smell the roses.” Let go of things that aren’t important, if your time was up tomorrow. Apologize to someone, if you need to. Have a purposeful conversation with a person you love. Put your cell phone away, and be in the moment, wherever you are. Be here now. Be present. Be grateful. Be thankful. Just… be.