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2023 Nov

Eyes Wide Open

Why you should embrace each day with an open heart and a sense of wonder.

Remember when you were younger and your life stretched before you like a long novel full of empty pages. Time seemed to crawl by. You couldn’t wait until you got your license, graduated high school, went to college, started your career, got married, and had kids. Every stepping stone seemed to take forever to reach. and when you got there, you started anticipating the next achievement without fully appreciating the one you just reached.

Now I’m at the other end of the novel, and I wish there were some way to slow down the speeding train I’m on. The seasons seem to go by at warp speed now, and the years pass nearly as fast. I think back to a recent event and realize it occurred two years ago. Where does the time go? Ever since I crossed over the threshold into my sixties, the slippery slope metaphor has become frighteningly accurate.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think the best is behind me. Au contraire. I think the best is yet to come. I’m smarter now than I was in my foolish youth. I take better care of myself. I’m constantly achieving new goals, and every day, it seems, I find something new to get excited about: a book I want to read, a recipe to try, a place I want to visit. Life stills unfolds up before me like an open road, full of promise and adventure.

But therein lies the rub. Like most women—probably all—the issue becomes how we choose to spend our time. Our lives are full of must-do’s that take precedence over the wanna-do’s. And often by the time we finish our must-do’s, we have no energy left for more pleasurable pursuits. Then there’s that clock glaring at us, counting the seconds off like a metronome, seconds that become minutes, minutes that become hours—you get the drift.

So what’s a frazzled woman to do? Here’s my advice. The absolute first thing I recommend is starting an exercise program. No kidding. And it’s not just to make you healthier. Exercise gives you energy. It’s that simple. Then you’ll have the ability to pursue more of the things you want to do.

Next, since much of your life is spent on the must-do’s, make sure your job is one you enjoy. If it isn’t, change! The cliché is true: life’s too short to spend doing something dreary. That’s not to say we can all have exciting jobs—jetting the globe researching a book about spas is my dream job, in case you wondered—but we can be proud of the contributions we make and strive to make our work environment a positive place where we can grow and learn.

My last suggestion is one you’ve heard before. Take a day or a weekend off and devote your energy toward being deliriously happy. Find an activity or a place where you can be yourself, let your hair down, and experience bliss. Whether it’s a hot air balloon ride, a picnic in the mountains, a shopping expedition to D.C. or New York, give yourself permission to enjoy this moment in your life.

Even if you can’t slow down the clock, you can embrace each day with an open heart and a sense of wonder. Like the seasons, life is precious and fleeting. Keep your eyes wide open for best results!

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.


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