Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Taking Stock

Dear reader, I apologize for this tangent even I would barely deem as a "post".  You see, lately there have been circumstances that have caused me to take stock of my life.  Call it what you will...an early midlife crisis, insanity...whatever.  Spending hours in the saddle on open country roads leaves me with a lot of time to think.  Trust me, I've tried to turn my brain off so as to enjoy my surroundings--but sometimes, where the brain decides to drift is completely pertinent to the surroundings.

I find this situation much more comical since it peaked on Easter Sunday.  You see, my husband and I rode out to the farm we visited a couple weeks back to see how the baby goats have grown.  Instead of being these helpless newborns with hyperactive tails, crying out for their mothers, we found them bounding, climbing and curious about anything in their pen--including the cat that wandered in.  Still, some of the cutest things I've ever seen, and now named by one of the grandchildren, I couldn't help but think of their fate.  Farms are full of cycles of birth and death.  Most of us eat meat and dairy products without thinking of their origin.  These "kids" will grow throughout the summer and then become dinner.  Even though I was a vegetarian growing up, I don't have an issue with this as long as the animal has a good life up until the point of death.

Apollo, Ogden, Rapunzel, and Girly Girl playing "king of the mountain"

This, along with the fact that I just finished a book called "Postmortal" (a futuristic novel about finding the cure for aging), got me thinking--isn't having a good life up until the point of death really what we all strive for?  Shouldn't we all live the best life possible until death occurs?  By "best" I do not mean fanciest.  After all, we are all just animals and I don't know any animal that needs a fancy life to be happy.  The goats at the farm wouldn't be "happier" if their pen was made of gold or if their grass was cultivated in France.  Nope, all they need is shelter, food, attention and a place to run and play.  It seems so simple.

Every  year or so I like to "take stock" of my life.  I ask myself questions like "Am I happy?" and "Do I need to make any changes?".  Honestly, in the past 15 or 20 years, the happiest days of my life have looked like this:  Wake early without an alarm, eat a hearty breakfast with good coffee, go on a long ride with my husband or friends, read or garden, eat lunch, go on a walk with my husband, read some more, eat dinner, get together with friends for beer or music, go to bed.  Aside from work and travel, this is all I would ever need or desire.  Like everyone else, I get pulled into thinking I need more at times.  That's when rides like the one I had on Sunday come in handy.

Hopefully I will never stop questioning myself and my needs.  To stop questioning myself allows me to become lazy (which is also okay once in awhile).  There may come a time when my simple way of being can no longer be supported, but with the short amount of time I have left in this world, I certainly hope not.

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