Today… as I sit writing this post… I am enjoying the most blissful view.
I’m sitting on a lounge-chair… on the deck of our beach house. It’s a gorgeous day. Not a cloud in the sky… and not even the slightest chill in the air (considering that this is still, officially, Winter).
The sea stretches before me… turquoise, melting into deep blue.
Three Southern Right whales are playing… only a few metres off-shore. From where I sit, I can hear the whoosh of their blow-holes… and occasionally they let out a loud, deep bellow. As if to greet us.
There’s the faintest breeze… and all I can hear (apart from the waves crashing and the occasional whale grunts)… are calls from different birds.
Next to me, Nick is comfortably curled up in a hammock… reading through the script of the upcoming film he’ll be working on in September.
On the other side of me, Morgan is perched on a lounge-chair of her own. She’s munching a banana and enjoying the view.
Joah is inside. He has taken a collection of newly-built lego boats to the bath. He wants to test them.
Life is… indeed… pretty good at the moment.
And then somebody wrote on Facebook (in response to a photo I posted): “Wow, you guys live such a cool life”.
And my first thought was: “Really? She thinks our life is cool? I don’t think it’s that cool… it’s just kinda… normal…”
And my second thought was: “Holy crap! We’ve already adapted to this lifestyle! We’re already used to it!”
Adapting to our circumstances is one of the things we humans just… *DO*.
On the one hand, it’s a necessary survival technique. It helps us to deal with shitty situations… it helps us to cope with life’s hard knocks… and I think it’s saved many a miserable life over the millennia.
I understand the “Adapt or Die” mantra… the whole “Make a plan – or you’re not going to survive this situation” thing.
In that sense… I’m glad that I have a special “adapt” ability built into my DNA. It has helped me cope and allowed me to deal with some very shitty situations in the past.
Problem is… the “adapt” button… can never be switched off. It’s always on. We’re always adapting – whether we want to or not.
And I don’t think I’m okay with that.
And the reason why – is this: it has become SO EASY for us to just… adapt to this life… to these beautiful experiences… these privileges. And when we adapt – we start seeing it all as “normal”.
And… when we start seeing it all as “normal”…. we start taking it all for granted.
After over 2 months in this lovely beach house… we’ve started to really settle in. The problem with “settling in”… is that the wonder… and the magic… and the “Omigosh! Look how amazing! Look how magnificent! We’re so fortunate! We’re so happy! Wow! Wow! Wow!!!” feelings (that we initially experienced during our first couple of nights) evolves into a general feeling of “well-this-is-very-nice”… which in turn, slowly becomes: “well-this-is… normal”.
I think our adaption abilities work really hard to slot us into predictable routines and an acceptance of (if not an urge for) comfortable predictability. I don’t think the human psyche is entirely delighted with unpredictability… and it works hard to normalise things.
… and then, before you know it, you’re opening the curtains in the morning – but not seeing the beautiful view…
… and you’re gulping back your coffee, but not savouring the taste…
… and you’re driving down the road in your nice car… past the fynbos… and the indigenous-plant nursery… and the bays and the beauty… and all you can think of is how you hate shopping at Pick ‘n Pay and how you wish the mice wouldn’t keep breaking into the grocery cupboard… and how that bloody nocturnal creature (with what sounded like a small jackhammer) in the roof kept you awake all night… and how you wish the tourists would stop feeding those blasted baboons… and you whinge about the extra chunkiness around your bum…
and before you know it…. you’ve missed the point.
“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it” – Vincent van Gogh
I really have to fight hard not to accept this as “normal”… not to take ANY of it for granted.
Because it’s a privilege. All of it. A ridiculously beautiful privilege… to be living here, now… this life… with this family… at this time. It’s more than ‘cool’. It’s frikkin’ awesome!!! And I am filled with gratitude for every precious moment.