My dog friends remind me to pay attention to now, this world and all of its wonders -- the feel of a mudpuddle on a spring day, the fascinating mystery of a rustle in the underbrush, the joy of running through a field. I need a big dose of their company, or else I forget that. And they sleep with the satisfaction of the truly relaxed.
I spend a lot of time with college students, too, and they too remind me to live in this world, the one right here and now, full of its fascinations and mysteries. In small ways college students make me feel wise, because I've already learned some of the things about the grown up world, people and relationships and identity, that they're busy discovering. But when I think like that I am being foolish. Like all of my other friends, they have more to teach me than I have to teach them. I spend car rides asking them all the questions they'll put up with, about how they see the world, about what is true for them.
I am a huge admirer of Clay Shirky. What I admire most is how willing he is to unlearn all his assumptions about the world so he's able to see how it is changing. What I admire second most is how he uses stories to explain big ideas. That's how I learn and remember things.