I truly think that my generation has lost the art of simply enjoying, due to the act of continually entertaining. We like to watch other peoples lives on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and in the process, our lives fly right past us.
What I have noticed in previous generations is the art of simply enjoying, and just gazing. I like to think of the elderly couple that heats up an old pot of coffee in the microwave, and sits outside to just watch the cars and people go by. No tv, just real life and real conversation in all its messiness. You know how rocking chairs are typically stereotyped for elderly folk? What do they do on those rocking chairs? They just rock, sit, think, and gaze. There is no entertainment to distract, just enjoyment of the real and the present. They watch their reality, rather than wish for someone else’s life they may witness on a screen.
When on a train in the Swiss Alps, my friend and I could not help but notice the very old gentleman behind us. He had to be in his late 80’s, but his attire and demeanor suggested he was ready to hike any mountain in sight. While I am sure he had seen such beauty in his long life, he was still breathless when looking out the train window. His jaw hung open and his droopy eyes popped as they took in the sparkling, snowy mountains. He gazed effortlessly, while my friend and I kept reaching for our phones, trying to capture the moment. Here I was trying to remember the moment, and he was just trying to live it. He knew life goes by quick, and he sure wasn’t going to miss it.
I must admit that I am a millennial, but I have decided I want to live like I am 90 years old. I want to walk more slowly, so I can take it all in more gradually. I want to chew my food less quickly, so that I can enjoy each taste and bite. I want to stop worrying what people think about me and just be who I am, so I can live without reservation or reconsideration. I want to reflect on memories past and verbalize them so much that people get upset I keep repeating the same story over and over again. I want to look at old photo albums, even if they are just from last year, because I’m so giddy about God’s grace over the years. I want to look out the window in awe, as if I am seeing it for the first time. I want to tackle my family members each time I see them, even if we reunite every single weekend. I want to be so excited to put my contacts in and see the world clearly, because I just know the Lord has goodness in store and beauty for me to see. If we absolutely knew the Lord had goodness in store and banked on the fact that He paved the way ahead, wouldn’t life be a whole lot more enjoyable? I want to be so aware of money’s fleeting-ness that I am more generous and aware of the needy around me.
All this to say, living like you’re 90 is full of simplicity, but it sure is not simple to do! It involves less entertaining and more gazing… Remember when the Lord told His people to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)? You serve a a Lord who is not actually more pleased when you are busy and entertained. He wants you to be still and recognize who He is. Gaze upon His glory first, and then see what He created and gaze upon it. This is the life of a 90 year old, too feeble to go very far, but thrilled at the thought of watching the world go by. It is time to learn how to gaze again.
words by Kylie Hultgren and photo by Hailey Pierce