Live Every Moment?
I was lightly kicking myself the other day when a friend of mine asked me on Facebook if I went to see REO Speedwagon at the local Great Frederick Fair. No, I had not, despite my being a fan of not only their music, but their overall attitude. I had heard they would be appearing at the event about a year ago, but didn’t think more about it, and forgot until my friend broached the subject. (They probably will never again be performing in my very own county, dammit.)
There are many of their songs, both their most famous hits and their lesser known tunes that I like. Sometimes for the music, sometimes for the lyrics, and some for both, of course. One upbeat tune of theirs is “Live Every Moment.” It is part love song, of course, because it is after all an REO Speedwagon song. Yet the message of the song, especially the opening, rings true in many endeavors.
Live every moment. Love every day.
‘Cuz before you know it your precious time slips away.
Live every moment. Love every day.
‘Cuz if you don’t you might just throw your love away.
Sounds obvious. Somebody says something similar just about everywhere you go. So the message is not unique to Kevin Cronin or course, and the lyrics are not stunning poetry. Yet the message is there, and on principle, I do agree with it.
Yet I have been thinking about this whole thing. While I agree that life is best lived when we live it to the fullest as often as possible, I have determined that despite what many will tell you, your life has to be of a certain size in order for this to work.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean you need riches, fame, power, or any such outward accouterments in order to live every moment. The point of this philosophy is in essence the exact opposite; no matter what you find yourself doing, take each second and infuse it with as much life and love as possible, because it could end at anytime. Without fail it will end at some point, at least in this form, regardless.
Yet is this oft cited advice practical? We like to think that even those confined to a bed in a room without a window that get non-medical visitors once a month at best can still jump wholeheartedly into life. I have no doubt that evolved souls in just that type of situation are able to live every moment to the fullest. They are stunning examples of inspiration for the rest of us. I, however suspect I may require a specific degree of breadth and depth to my life before I can engage in carpe diem.
Furthermore, I find at certain times in my life I am Too XYZ to create that breadth and depth by myself, ex nihilio. Perhaps this is a weakness, or perhaps I am just a little more realistic about living every moment to the fullest. And by realistic I mean that I have no problem confessing that an outside purpose, circumstance or most importantly, human company helps me to more fully engage in existence. I have attempted to force my mind into, “every moment is a miracle” mode when I am alone for long stretches, and to an extent it works. For a while. But after a time, when I am alone, with nothing at all to do but sit, eat, write, pitch, edit and read, living every moment seems more of a concept than a practice. Even to an introvert like myself.
Maybe it really is all a matter of expanding my mind enough, or deepening my perceptions enough, I am not sure. It could be that I am revealing I am a lesser person when I state my view that sometimes our lives have to be bigger in order for us to live every moment, and that we don’t always have the tools to do that on our own. I can’t say for sure. However I do believe that sometimes our lives become too small to allow living in the moment, or for every moment, or as though we had an hour to live. Even if that were a feasible approach, (and I am not sure it is) my ability to initiate that modus operandi without regard to my circumstances is limited at present.
I concur with those who will say I need to expand my thoughts in such a way that my life then becomes big enough to live every moment. That isn’t a bad suggestion, but again, is it practical for everyone?
Maybe grabbing life by the collar, (or whatever other damn metaphor you want to utilize for this approach), is only possible once we get past a certain point. Maybe some of us can’t create an entire universe teeming with life with just our own thoughts. Could it be that the point is not so much to live every moment under every circumstance, but rather do whatever we can to make sure we optimize as many moments as we can for each other? Perhaps we need to help enlarge the lives and consciousnesses of others when they are too small for all of this living for the day stuff. Or maybe we only need to do that for less evolved folks such as myself. I really don’t have the answer. But I do believe if it were a simple matter of my choosing to do it, I would have done more of it long ago, and far more often.
Do you “live every moment”? If so, what does that entail, exactly? Just how engaged are you with every ticking second? Is “living like you are going to die” a true road map of how you live your life, or is it more of an ideal to which you aspire? Is it always possible to expand your own life enough to live every moment without some outside component brought into the mix?