This week marks the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon.’ Probably my favorite album of all time, I search through it’s sonic sounds for inspiration a few times a year and it never ceases to fill me with a sense of awe and motivation to accomplish something great on my own. It’s truly a masterpiece and I can’t help but have the desire to make a masterpiece of my own one day.
Of course, the feeling has always been that my time for a masterpiece is not before me yet. The feeling has been that I have to get through the current stage of my life first, holding off things that I dream of, because this current stage is the door to the next stage. In other words, the feeling is that life right now isn’t really life. Life right now is just preparation for real life to begin. This is one of the themes that Pink Floyd explored in their own masterpiece. It’s very ironic that the feeling that the album gave me was a feeling that the band was trying to repel.
Can you blame me for feeling like I’m not really in the moment yet? You can, but I’ve also been taught this way all my life. Third grade told me that I needed to learn cursive because it would prepare me for later elementary school days. After that, everything I did was to prepare me for middle school. In middle school I soon discovered that I had spent the previous five years preparing for the school that would prepare me for high school. In high school, I found that my number one priority was to prepare for college. Finally, in higher education I found that I could enjoy my time for what it’s worth and where I am. This epiphany came just after four years of being taught that my time in college was going to prepare me for a lifetime of experiences ahead.
It’s strange to be liberated from fear of consequences of the future. It’s strange to try and be happy when it feels like I should be more focused on the path I’m making for myself. It could be ‘responsibility’ trying to set me straight and put me on the path of preparation once again. Or it could just be that my mind has processed the idea that I’m getting ready for something else with what I’m doing now that it doesn’t know how to deal with the present.
I had to wrestle with this idea a little bit. I don’t want to be an advocate for hedonism. Hedonism is destructive for individuals and the societies they belong to, and it contradicts the faith which I belong to. If you choose to make dumb decisions because it feels good to make those decisions you will have to pay for them in the future. It might be fun to do something now, but it won’t be when it’s time to reap the harvest that you sowed. There is value in working hard and training and rehearsing for bigger and better things. Everyone should be a master at something and that requires dedication. I’m not saying that there is no point in preparing for the future. I’m trying to say that we don’t take enough time to appreciate that we are living life to the fullest even when we are preparing for something else.
The idea that I could finally just let life be what it is and the ability to enjoy that is very comforting. At a time when things are very turbulent in my life, and I often find myself wishing a could skip to the next phase in my journey, I am finally making room in my heart to accept and rejoice over what I have right now. I have finally allowed myself room to grieve the unfortunate circumstances I live through. That grieving makes the goodness of life more savory. It was a heavy burden to hide things away in my heart because I felt like I just had to make it through this point of life with composure and toughness. You can imagine how disappointing it is when you do your best to tough it out through hard times because of the self-given hope that good times are around the corner if you tough it out a little longer. But I’ve found that life doesn’t work in definable seasons, like many people have tried to teach me. Life is a mixture of good times and bad times -although for some people, and during some times the mixture is far from balanced. Life is here and life is now, and it feels much better when you accept it for what it is, grieving the heartache, and loving the overlooked blessings all around us.
I can’t help but think I understand what Roger Waters felt when he penned out the lyrics for the tracks on his masterpiece. I feel the sense of relief that I can finally enjoy life and I feel the frustration that I didn’t find this wisdom sooner. I feel like I should have allowed myself to enjoy my studies more for what they were, instead of using them as a tool for the next point in life. I wish I would had spent more time with people that I knew I would only have with me for a short amount of time, and that I could have been more vulnerable with the people that I know are going to last. I even wish I would have given more thought to little things in life like birds and grass and wind rustling the leaves. The awesome thing about living in the present, though, is that I can grieve the feeling that I missed something, and make the conscious decision to love life for what it is.