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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Brother’s visit, Day 1.

Liquor stores visited: 2

Bottles bought: 8

Cocktails drunk: 2, plus 1 amaro plus 3 bourbons

Glasses broken: 1

It’s still early.

We were going to order takeout for dinner, but decided that our money was better spent on another bottle of good bourbon than some lazy not-New-York pizza. We had quiche instead.

After a day yesterday of anticipating the what’s-next, today’s word implanted itself firmly in my brain first thing this morning: present.

As in be present.

It’s easy to get caught up imagining and planning and speculating and anticipating. But at some point you have to stop and just be where you are.

That’s what I wanted to do today. I wanted to experience whatever was happening without thinking about what could or should or might happen.

Ralph and I went to the Farmers Market, like we do almost every Saturday. It’s open 52 weekends a year, rain or shine. Winter is sparser in terms of fresh things, but there is plenty of meat, lots of eggs, all sorts of bread and baked things, and tons of stuff in jars, like jelly and pickles and tomatoes and syrup.

You probably don’t use the word “Tennessee” in the same breath as “maple syrup” very often, but I’ll tell you what… Vermont may get all the credit but Tennessee delivers.

Maple syrup was back in stock today.

Standing outside with Ralph in the 16 degree morning so I could get fresh eggs was surprisingly enjoyable. Not because of the 16 degrees, and not even really because of the eggs, but because I had already decided to be wholly present with every moment today. I did not anticipate the cooking of the eggs or the bacon or the grits (hey, I’m southern now). Just then I existed there and nowhere else.

Afterwards, we strolled to the coffee shop, then picked up some fresh donuts. It was nice not to be in a rush or to be planning three steps ahead or worrying about what needed to get done. For a few hours this morning there was no schedule, no requirements, no have-tos or should-dos. Just us, being there.

My brother slept late, long past grits.

During the afternoon we did some shopping, and browsed the bourbon section of a couple of liquor stores like the proverbial kids at Christmas.

In all, nothing much happened. We didn’t go anywhere Instagram-worthy, don’t have any new stories to tell, but there was something fundamentally and profoundly satisfying about simply existing without an agenda. I got to spend time today with two of the people I like most on this planet. But more importantly I got to experience it.

Whether I was standing outside in the cold, sitting in the car, baking a quiche, researching some Destiny tips, or sitting here writing this, I had one glorious day of simply being.

I’m not always good at this. In fact, I find it so challenging to be present for more than one person at a time. When I’m talking to one, I must be ignoring the other. When I’m sitting next to one, I must be avoiding the other. This is not unique to them. It’s how life plagues me most of the time.

I worry so much about who I’m pleasing or whether everyone is happy or if there’s something I should be doing differently, that more often than I’d care to admit, I don’t fully participate in the time I have in front of me.

So when a day like today comes along, where I just am, and let be, it’s especially nice.

Today wasn’t different or special. In the end it always comes down to the narrative in my head, and whether I’m able to be present for the moment, or I’m busy telling myself stories about what could and might and maybe and should and won’t happen.

My brain let me be present today. I’m going to lasso that feeling and keep it around for a few more days.

And in a pinch, three or four cocktails will definitely help.

Photo: a few of the selections purchased on today’s outing.