“How is your week going?” This simple question often throws me for a loop. We all hear this seemingly innocuous question dozens of times per week — from friends, the grocery clerk, the bank teller, and on and on.
Despite the many times I’m asked this question, it somehow always catches me off-guard. My brain wildly scans the past, present, and future of the week, trying to calculate the overall wellness and direction of the week. I usually manage a tepid response, “Uh, my week is going pretty good.”
A week is too big for me. It’s not that I don’t think about the past or plan ahead for the future — I do — but I simply cannot summarize a week into a quick soundbite. I don’t fault the questioner either. I also ask friends, “So, how’s the week treating you?”
The frequency with which we ask this question reveals a truth: we are often not in the present. Instead, we dwell on the past and fret about the future.
Our children, however, live in the present. They live in every second of every minute of every hour. They experience life as it unfolds.
They watch a butterfly flutter its wings; a bumblebee buzz by a flower; the clouds shifting in the sky; and every other thing around them. Sometimes they drive us crazy with their “why” questions, testing even the most patient parent.
But that is also why we love seeing the world through our kids’ eyes. Every color, sound, and smell is experienced anew. To be fully engaged in the present is an amazing gift.
We are born with this gift, as our own children show us. But along the way, we stop thinking about the here-and-now and shift our focus to weeks, months, and years.
We can’t live as freely in the moment as our kids do. Someone needs to plan for dinner, take care of finances, and do all those other grownup things.
But we can slip into the present more. We can experience life as it unfolds — even if only for a few precious moments.
To us, that’s a windmill worth chasing.