Hold Still

You might think that after thirty-two years of playing soccer, enjoying it would no longer surprise me. But I strive not to be that sensible.

Driving home from a game the other night I thought, “That was fun.” The thought is not new, but this time I paused long enough to let it expand into some open space in my brain, space that is usually occupied by other, less fun thoughts, such as, how can I exercise more, write more, eat more vegetables, and have more down time? In my next life I want to worry about why I can’t do less, just for variety.

Quality improvement processes go like this: look at what’s happening, see which part is broken, figure out a possible solution, try it, check to see whether it’s working. My brain, on the other hand, goes like this: assume nothing is as good as it could be, come up with twenty-five hours worth of daily improvements, begin system overload due to attempted expansion of space-time continuum, scramble to scale back and prioritize, fail, shut down system, reboot and run again. I am pretty sure I found this method in the Tao Te Ching or Bhagavad Gita.

That momentary space in my brain allowed me to wonder whether anything actually needs to be improved. Might it be possible that I am healthy enough, accomplishing enough, treating others well enough? And if so, what do I do about it?

Because it only took a few minutes to realize that everything being OK is pretty scary. What happens next if we’re OK? What is there for us to DO? How can we prove our worth? What will prevent us from sitting on the couch eating potato chips to the exclusion of all else?

Age-old wisdom aside, I think I’ll risk living my life exactly the way it is for a few months and check to see whether, just maybe, everything’s OK.