Precious Experiences

I’m on my way to the hospital.

To hear a doctor pronounce a ‘death sentence’ on my friend.

And yet, I feel intensely alive.

There’s nothing like an impending sense of mortality to focus you on the present.

Everything seems sharper.

More real.

I notice things that would typically pass by in a blur.

It’s as if being made aware of the ephemeral transience of our existence somehow makes all of it more special.

More important.

More essential.

Even the grey haze that hangs over the cityscape, the visual indicator of a thrumming population that hums and buzzes with activity, spewing dust and fumes into the atmosphere.

Or the young couple strolling by hand in hand, lost in themselves and blissfully unaware of the bustling and busy crowds all around… content in their bubble of imagined privacy.

I read the ad billboards. And study the map of metro stations. Even listen to announcements about upcoming stops and general safety precautions.

All stuff I’d usually tune out, while pretending to be engaged on more important stuff.

This urgency to imbibe, enjoy and appreciate the world around me continues all through the day.

A strawberry donut I’d normally wolf down in a hurry becomes a treat to relish. To savor slowly one bite at a time, while I pause to experience the burst of flavor on my tongue.

A chance meeting with dear friends, one that would seem merely casual, creates a little flurry of excitement as we stroll around a shopping center, taking in sights, smells and sounds that today seem more vivid.

Lunch with my lovely wife and lovelier daughter is somehow more enjoyable, even though the food itself wasn’t any different from the regular fare – even if it came with more exotic names (and a matching price tag!)

As I pause to reflect towards the end of this unusual day, I wonder.

How much of our life passes by in a dim, dull background fog – while we stay lost inside our imagination, or smartphones?

How different might it be if we lived always in this certain uncertainty of our evanescent transience on the planet?

How might our experience of simple, mundane, everyday events and occurrences, interactions and observations, shift – and become magical?

Or maybe it would all be too overwhelming, if that happens.

Perhaps that’s why we pull a cloak of indifference over ourselves.

To conceal and shelter us from the intense experience of our existence.

Until that existence itself is threatened.

And becomes suddenly more precious.