A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to get a little Christmas shopping done and I remember leaving a store and driving down the street. I looked around and saw the decorations in the store windows and life buzzing all around me and I felt so detached. Like it wasn’t real or like it really had nothing to do with me.
I was going through the motions, like so many of us do, doing what needed to be done without really letting life sink in. Or maybe I was just in a mental place that wouldn't allow it to penetrate my surface.
It’s a disconcerting feeling, walking through moments in life that should be felt but you don’t know if you’re capable of it. Watching others laugh and laughing along with them…but not really feeling the joy in your soul. Even living moments when you know you should be sad but some part of you can’t absorb what’s going on…and watching life’s moments pass by as if they’re part of a movie reel and not part of the life you’re living.
There is a moment during the movie Postcards from the Edge when Meryl Streep says, “I can’t feel my life. I look around me and I know so much of it is good.” And I would think that most people have times in their lives when they know exactly what she’s talking about. Life gets busy or overwhelming or too serious and we’re almost forced into a role of abstract observation.
Time to evaluate and realize.
Of course, these phases of detachment are often followed by times when I feel almost too much and the ups and downs must be dealt with in a different way. Joy is felt deeply. Sorrow is cried about. Life gets scary and then it’s wonderful in ways I can’t put into words.
I was thinking about this earlier today…about which scenario is better: is it easier to stand back from your life as an observer or feel each moment?
The only thing I came up with was that it’s an in-between place that I think we call “contentment” that is the happy medium. Those fleeting moments we experience whether we’re on an upswing or down – the up, knowing how good life is about to be even if it’s temporary. And the down, appreciating where we were when we were up.
Those are the moments that make life worth the ride.