Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Unaware Days

I enjoy Unaware Days. They come in several varieties, and are those relatively rare days when you are completely unaware of any specific aspect of your life to which you normally have to pay some degree of attention—those wonderful days of late spring, much of summer, and early fall, for example, when you are completely unaware of temperature…shirt sleeve days when you just walk out the door without having to give a single thought to whether it’s going to be too cold or too hot.

Any day when you are totally unaware of your body—when there are no minor or major aches or pains or tender spots or healing paper cuts or annoying hangnails—is an Unaware Day, and a good one. And there are those very rare days when you have absolutely nothing specific that must be done that day: no scheduled work or chores or duties or appointments…, those days when your mind is as free as an untethered balloon.

The irony of Unaware Days is that we seldom fully appreciate them because, well, because we tend to be unaware of them. When they come along, we accept them as our due, and almost never give so much as a thought as to how precious and rare they really are. I suppose it’s just human nature to assume that things should always go so well, even though they too seldom do.

The vast majority of our days are so crammed to overflowing with have-to-do’s, with work and chores and obligations and responsibilities, that there is precious little time just to enjoy…well, just being. Yet, perversely, while we all but ignore our Unaware Days, we somehow always manage to devote ample time to being acutely aware...and to fret about...real, imagined, or anticipated problems.

It may seem strange that I, who cannot sit still for five minutes without getting antsy to be doing something, should espouse taking time every now and then just to sit back and appreciate our lives—and that we should do it precisely at those times when there seems to be no reason to do so.

I was thinking today, for no reason…and I really must stop saying that, since there very seldom is a reason for why I think what I do when I do…of just how blessed with Unaware Days I am. My life is, by and large, comprised of them. I really, at the moment, have no real worries, no real problems, nothing that I absolutely must do this very instant. I’m in no pain or discomfort, and, in generally fine spirits. There is nothing bad or sad going on in my life. That is not to say that I can’t and don’t, as you have noticed, find an endless supply of things to bitch about, but the fact is that they are almost totally outside myself and most certainly beyond my control, so to indulge them is a waste of time.

Yet even when I do have something I feel is a legitimate complaint or worry, if I can force myself to step back from whatever it is—and it is admittedly far more easily said than done—it’s immediately apparent that no matter how bad it may be, there are so many others going through infinitely worse.

I cannot imagine that there are many human beings who have never experienced soul-deep sorrow and unbearable grief, or not been witness to horrible things. But conversely, it’s hard to imagine anyone who has not experienced love and wonder and great joy. The world is steeped in both joy and tragedy, and it is how we respond to them, over the long run, and to which we pay most attention, which defines our character. Unaware Days provide us with a fulcrum for that balance.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

I remember my unaware days as being much more prevalent when I was in grade school. Summer days when I'd put on a pair of short, some t-shirt, walk outside, smell the moisture in the air from the sprinklers, listen to the birds flying over, the wind through the neighbor's trees, watch dew glisten, smell the plastic seat of my new bike as it heated up in the sun (a precursor to a new car smell), all while not having a care in the world.

Good days, those. And good memories. Thank you for remind me.