It’s been a long week, so long in fact that during tonight’s yoga class I found myself going through the motions, waiting for the 90 minutes to be over so I could run home to cook some oatmeal and pass out in bed. My “lost year” helped me get re-accustomed to living with uncertainty but I remember that in my 20’s, despite having front row seats to my parents’ bitter divorce, I was convinced that being all grown up meant stability, predictability, even a modicum of boredom, the only big unknown being the date of our demise. Wrong! Curve balls are still being thrown and even if I have never been a person with a penchant for predictability, I wouldn’t mind, once in a while, knowing exactly what is going to happen tomorrow. Well, let me rephrase that, it would be nice not to have to worry about tomorrow, just get up to a predictable day and come home to a predictable household – not for long, that would create a different sort of bitching – just for a few days.
Ottie, mercifully, is a constant source not only of entertainment but of wisdom too. I don’t really buy the assumption that animals live fully in the present. I can tell Ottie has memories that act as triggers and he is not fully settled until he knows exactly what kind of day he is going to have: am I going to work and he has 8 hours to roam around or will I be home, providing him with games, companionship and unexpected excursions? But once he knows, he does fully enjoy (or despise) the moment. How could he have mastered such a Buddhist precept that we find so difficult? Perpetually thinking about what needs to be done, what is about to happen or mulling over what has been it’s such a cliche that we don’t enjoy the present. Maybe that is where getting older is going to be helpful – too painful to remember “the good old days” and too daunting to think about what is behind the corner, I might become a mean old lady with extravagant hats and a permanent smile. Wouldn’t that be great?
In the meantime, I am experimenting with finding enjoyment in uncertainty and excitement in not knowing (and trying not to care) about tomorrow.