What Excites You?
While writing to a friend my age I had to pause and wonder what excites me at 60? Thinking back what excited me when I was 5? Then 10, 16, 18, 21, 25, 30 and then up to Now. Isn’t excitement usually about something new being experienced?
Like most children, I walked around with wide eyes, just taking many things in. I was almost always excited about something. The smallest thing could be and often was very exciting. It seems though, when more and more expectations were involved my feeling excited started to lessen. Expectations worked to take away the excitement of various experiences since many of those may never happen. Now some will offer that without expectations we may not feel motivated to initiate positive change. Feeling without goals to achieve, a persons present borders on being meaningless. Of course many feel excited by the thrill of trying to meet a goal. I understand this and have felt it also. I guess the trick is to be watchful of how much you are focusing intently on the end result of your efforts. Just like the idea that the destination is not what’s important, it’s the trip. Always looking at some hoped for result takes away from the excitement involved with the process itself.
Expectations generally are about a possible future. When I was young I wished to be older. I had some expectations about what being older would likely offer. As I got closer to being 16 my thoughts were about being able to drive and how exciting that would be. I had no idea of course what was actually involved. Then there is the magical 21. Boy then I could do what I want and no one could tell me otherwise. Here again I had no idea of what’s actually involved with being legally on my own. So my excitement, as I got older, wasn’t like when I was quite young. I found out that my expectations never really lived up to what I would have hoped they’d offer. Getting older became no big deal and as I moved into my 40’s and 50’s what actually got me excited really started to nose dive. Life became more of the same and instead of feeling easily excited I became increasingly bored. I felt like I’ve experienced most of the big things in life so what could possibly be left to experience. What do I really have to look forward to? Death started to seem like a reasonable thing as sticking around in this life appeared to be increasingly pointless.
There is a common idea that if a person has nothing to look forward to they lose their feelings of hope. Without hope of a better and/or different life experience there is no real point to a person’s life. This focus on the importance of having hope really misses the opportunities present in a person’s Now.
The Present or Now is actually where all the excitement is. We simply can’t see that by constantly looking towards an unknown future or dwelling on our past. The older a person is, the less of a future they envision for themselves so their only alternative is often to go to their past. There sometimes they relive the excitement they once felt. Those memories serve to give some point to their lives. Often one can see older people living in their past. With nothing to look forward to and their present often not being all that fulfilling or pleasant, the past is almost like a sanctuary. How often have you been around an older relative where their main topic of conversation has to do with their past? When they talk about their present many times it can be about their health and any problems associated with it.
In lots of ways we have become a past/future race. Of course as a young child this is not so as they have no past and they generally don’t concern themselves with a possible future. Concern for their future is something adults teach them. They essentially strip them unconsciously of the excitement of their present. We call this maturing.
Then there is the influence of our religions. They are very much focused on the future. Some religions essentially promote the idea that it’s sinful to get excited in the present. Heaven is waiting, then you can be excited…….Getting excited about Earthly things is a waste.
There has been a growing interest in becoming more spiritually aware. Often there are many expectations of what that awareness would offer. Since our present culture has moved in the direction of more immediate satisfaction and fulfillment many of these spiritual seekers lose interest when their awakening is not happening fast enough. There is often the initial excitement about what could result from their focus. They believe and tell themselves life will be better “when”. When this mystical state of “when” doesn’t show up in the time frame they had hoped it would their enthusiasm wanes. The initial excitement gives way to unmet expectations. The possible exciting realizations experienced during the process are often not felt or seen. Their eyes are on a possible future and not their present.
Our educational system is very much oriented towards the future. Sure you can be excited now but with the proper education then it’s possible to get really excited about the life you can have then. Both the educational and religious systems always for the most part advocate that a persons present is never quite good enough or fulfilling enough. So our real excitement will be found at some future point. This philosophy builds up the idea of having expectations or hopes of having something “better”.
There are an increasing number of folks who advocate this simple idea, “if you think your future will be better than your present you are not living it fully.”
So really why is it that children can be so easily excited but often that is not the case with adults? Why do many scriptures talk about a person must be child like in order to enter Heaven like realms? How can a person function in life having the eyes and Heart of a child? To many it’s not possible. Letting oneself be easily excited is something for children, not adults. Seems our idea of becoming mature responsible people necessitates losing our Wonder about Life. Once we loose that, becoming excited goes too. Might not be a bad idea to do an excitement check every once and awhile. Look at the last time you felt excited and what it was about. Sometimes things happen where if we were younger we know we’d be excited but now we simply won’t let ourselves. This kind of self evaluation could be very helpful in returning to your childlike state.
See if when you wake up in the morning you can let yourself feel excited about simply being alive. Move into being thankful about the unknown opportunities the day will present. If fear about what those could be raises its head, Trust that all will be well.
Peace with Love,
Dialogue with Neale about The Only Thing That Matters
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