On the third day of walking the Camino I had a painful realization.
I wanted to go back and start over.
I had been so anxious, nervous, excited, uncertain as we started walking that very first day that I did not settle down enough to actually pay attention.
I was overwhelmed with the beauty.
I was uncertain about my ability to make the whole trek.
I did not know what was ahead, so I kept looking for our next stop, the next little town, vista, coffee spot, lunch.
I worried I was going too slow, so I kept moving as briskly as seemed right.
I compared myself to other walkers - was I slower? more fit? better prepared? did I look silly? why did my knee hurt? when could I eat next?
I was unprepared for the necessity to savor, to slow down, to stop and reflect, to steep myself in each glorious moment.
And so - despite my best efforts to live in the moment - I found myself halfway through the journey wishing I could go back and start all over, knowing what I knew now.
I remembered this poignant idea:
“There are people who do not live their present life; it is as if they were preparing themselves, with all their zeal, to live some other life, but not this one. And while they do this, time goes by and is lost.”Antiphon
I was so caught up in my own thoughts, about myself, my level of preparedness, whether or not I was doing the Camino right, how I was walking compared to others and blah, blah, blah ...
that I - to a certain extent - missed it.
How like life this is!
As I approach the tail end of middle age, I keep thinking to myself, "If I could go back and start over, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't rush so much. I would slow down and savor things. I wouldn't worry or compare or fret about stuff that doesn't matter."
But, of course, we don't get that chance.
All we have is this day.
And so we take this truth ... that while we are preparing ourselves to live some other life, even some future life, this one goes past us,
Don't miss it. Don't miss it. Don't miss it.
This is my new mantra.