Yesterday’s salad exercise was interesting. Did you perhaps surprise yourself in the process? 

Something that I learnt from it is that if it is not shared with others that appreciate the effort and creativity that you put into it, it detracts from the sweetness of the goal. But I think that that is true for most goals, and not just culinary achievements. 

But onto the next challenge.

Day 9: Slow down, sit, and watch the sunset

Who doesn’t love watching a beautiful sunset? There is something about the innate connection it seems to have with everything there is about being human. Sunrise and sunset both have their own natural charm. Incidentally, more sunsets are enjoyed than sunrises. Sunrise requires effort, like dragging yourself out of bed when the morning air is still chilled, and your bed is still warm. 

Key word in this challenge is ‘watch’. Not take a photo and share it on social media, or sip a drink, or chat to a friend while watching it set. No. It is about slowing down. Quieting the mind, relaxing, and experiencing the sunset without a need to describe it, capture it, or share it. There is much solace to be gained from such an experience. Although I suspect that many who try this will feel uneasy about not reacting in some way the extends to a social interaction of sorts. 

Stop to think of how many moments were captured on camera, but not fully experienced in an immersive way? Not just sunsets, but epic meals, amazing achievements, new beginnings, hooking up with old friends, and so much more. How much of it was lost to the act of trying to preserve it? 

Today, when you ready yourself for sunset, set all that noise and habits aside and try your best to just be present. Try not to let your mind wander, but instead, to notice the tiniest details of the sky changing colour, the shadows growing visibly longer before your eyes, the air getting crisper as the heat of the sun fades beneath the horizon, or the birds rushing back to their nests amidst the golden backdrop of the sunset. And breathe, deeply. Take it all in, and for just those few moments, forget that social media exists. If you have a special someone that you are sharing the moment with, take comfort in each others’ presence, but don’t be distracted by it. Truly share a quiet unobtrusive moment without a need to affirm or validate, or be affirmed or validated. Just be, in that moment, one with nature. 

Warming thoughts to conclude on

Much of life is lost while contemplating the celebration of life. Looking for tokens as evidence of having been there, or trinkets that remind us of being there, yet not noticing how much more there we could have been if only we savoured the moment itself, rather than planning to savour the memory. When I think back to golden memories of my childhood years, and when I listen to others talk of theirs, there has never been a need to pull out a token of any sort to prove or embellish the memory. It was just discussed with excitement  and most often laughter.

By contrast, I wonder how similar discussions will go in the future with the current generation when they reflect on their childhood years, and the prevailing sentiment will be, “If there are no pics, then it didn’t happen.” Perhaps that is telling of the lack of trust among the current generation? Or maybe my cynicism is just revealing my age on this topic. 

Perhaps in time, sensory rich experiences will take on a different meaning. What we experience physically now will morph into intellectually weighted stimulus in future. And the same way that we may not be able to relate to their reality and assume that they are depriving themselves now, they will probably wonder why we can’t relate to their experiences while wondering what is the fuss about scraping your knees, when you can be tripping someone up in a holographic virtual world with electronic audit trails and trophies to prove it. Strange world. 

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