Life consists of moments; the rest is just fill. I look back on my own life and everything is distilled into the essential oils of my existence, fleeting glimpses of my time on earth. My memory is like an MP3 of favourite albums, all the essential stuff is there but the filler, the clutter, has been removed to produce compressed files. The tracks to my own albums are varied, sometimes extreme. Pivotal moments mark turning points, opportunities, some missed, moments of despair and moments of joy. It’s often said we have selective memory and this is true, our favourite tracks seem to outnumber the rest, life in reflection can have an unrealistic gloss as we push aside the stuff we don’t care to remember. But while I’d sometimes rather forget the low points, looking back on them gives me a sense of perspective, forming a baseline for the good times. Times of sadness, times of grief and hopelessness, they all come together and combine with the joyous moments to make us who we are, to make us whole.
How we make the time count depends on how we grasp the moments.
Our time on earth is brief, in itself, only a moment in the grand scheme of things. How we make the time count depends on how we grasp the moments, cherishing them all, good and bad and growing from the experience. It’s not just the momentous occasions we remember, special memories can be as brief and delicate as the smell of a newborn baby, the sight of a carpet of clouds seen from the top of a mountain, rainy days by the fire with your mum when you were sick and she made you hot chocolate, a brother’s arms around your shoulder when you fell and bruised your knee. How about the moment you witnessed a good deed and it made you feel great for the whole day? Moments when your best furry friends curl up by your feet or look at you with the unreserved love and affection that only a pet can give.
Take time to smell the coffee.
It’s all too easy to go through life thinking it’s all about getting somewhere, looking for an end product or a destination, striving for that promotion, that big house you dream of, the elusive pot of gold or retirement in the south of France. The cliché says it’s all about the journey, not the destination; how true that is and how important it is to remember each day. Lookout for the moments; watch for the sun, the sea, the breeze and the trees, smell the coffee, take time for family and friends and add these moments to your collection; don’t wait for those final moments to get here, only to realise your MP3 drive is empty.