Here it is – my favorite season! At least according to the calendar.
I’m not sure Mother Nature has gotten the memo that it’s officially Spring – at least not on a consistent level. As poet Henry Van Dyke said, “The first day of Spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”
Mark Twain expressed a similar sentiment: “In the Spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”
We really can’t complain too much, though. In many regions of the U.S., it’s been a relatively mild winter – with the exception of a few major storms. Hope I haven’t just jinxed us into one of those freak April snowstorms!
I always refer to Spring as the rejuvenation of nature — and also of ourselves. Just take a look at our associations with this season – spring fever and spring break! We just need to be patient.
That’s okay with me because I love anticipation. In fact, I often savor pleasurable things – sometimes to a fault. If I get an unexpected package, I don’t tear into it right away. I let it sit around for awhile — so I can stretch out the surprise. The same thing goes for “real mail” – you know, an actual handwritten letter or card tucked in between the business and junk mail.
I’m not sure when this behavior started. As a child, I was never one to sneak around to find and open presents early. I love to give surprises, though. As the giver, I’m anxious for the other person to experience the surprise. As the receiver, however, I like to savor. What’s up with that?
A friend recently asked why I postpone joy. I thought that was a strange way to look at it. It may be a throwback to an early work ethic I learned – like a lot of us. Get your work done, and then you can play.
While that certainly seems like an admirable characteristic, I’ve started to notice it can be detrimental at times. Who makes the call as to when all the work is done? How many of us ever get to the end of our “to do” lists?
Just last week I promised myself I’d get outside to enjoy the unseasonably warm temperatures. I anticipated this all day. And, yet, when it came to the late afternoon, I found myself dashing off a few more e-mails and doing one more errand. By the time I got home it was nearly dark – and I’d missed the magic. Can you say “self sabotage?”
I’m a big believer in creating joy. So, I need to heed my friend’s admonition not to be a “joy hoarder.” I certainly don’t want to put out a vibe that resonates scarcity of joy.
Upon researching this topic, I learned I’m not alone. I was surprised to find an entire website devoted to the concept, donotpostponejoy.com, as well as a book entitled “Don’t Postpone Joy.”
Putting It Into Perspective
Peter Taylor, an ex-international equestrian, had his athletic career crushed at the Barcelona Olympics where he was tragically infected by a sand fly, transmitted by a parasite. The infection destroyed his bone marrow and attacked his internal organs, and he needed continual treatments of chemotherapy to manage his chronic illness.
Losing his sight and becoming profoundly deaf are two realities Taylor had to endure. Cochlear implants helped to restore some of his hearing, and Taylor turned his extreme challenge into a new purpose for his life.
Embarking on the inspirational circuit, Taylor rose to the rank of Inspirational Speaker of the Year for 2012 from the National Speakers Association. And he attacked his health challenges with the same fervor he used to rise to the top of the international equestrian circuit.
“I can’t change the world, but I can change my world,” Taylor has said. He finally succumbed to complications of his illness – 21 years beyond his “expiration date,” as he called the earlier death sentences he was given. This definitely made me think about putting things off.
Are there areas in your life where you’ve postponed joy? Do you feel you don’t deserve it? Or that you need to get all your work done first, or you’ll be “goofing off?” Maybe you think you need to wait for just the right time. Or the perfect person to share the experience. How ‘bout taking a hint from Taylor?
As for me, I’m anticipating the return of Spring. I’ll be mindful to seize it right away this time. And to come down somewhere between the philosophies of Leo Tolstoy and Robin Williams.
Tolstoy reminds us that “Spring is the time of projects and plans,” while Williams advised “Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘let’s party!’”