By CEAN BURGESON
In this drive-through, online, wireless, digital, surround sound, super-sized, high speed, direct billed, no-interest, instant messenger, instant gratification lifestyle we’ve developed, it’s easy to fast forward through life, and to gauge ourselves strictly by our accomplishments.
But life — real life — is lived in the day to day, nine to five existence.
It’s lived in the little moments in-between, the footnotes to greater things. Gratification doesn’t come from punching the clock on another day, week, or month. It comes in unique moments, like seeing your newborn child’s face for the first time, a smile from your wife after the pain of labor has subsided, and the look on people’s faces when they renew their relationship with the miracle of life.
These little moments, or side excursions, make life livable – as long as we remember to live in those moments, those golden instances that fade too quickly if we let them.
How easy is it to forget what’s important? Family, friends, having a little fun once in a while…
It’s pretty damn easy.
Until something comes along to remind us why we enjoy living. Why we try. Why we find the reason to smile, or laugh, or enjoy ourselves.
And we once again renew our faith in the value of life, re-evaluate what’s important, and try to set out once again to live like we once promised ourselves we would.
I’ve experienced moments like this several times. Most notably on Wednesday, March 24, at 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 13, at 3:15 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 1 at a time that is now unremembered. On each of those days, a miracle occurred. A miracle that occurs every day in every corner of the world – hell, in every corner of the universe for all we know.
On each one of those days, I met my children for the first time. Two through the miracle of birth, and one through the miracle of sacrifice that comes from adoption. Those moments are about new life, the continuation of life, the perseverance of humankind.
They’re a lot bigger — and a whole lot heavier — in the scheme of things, than worrying about the little things, like a promotion at work, bills, or rush hour traffic.
For these children, five months, three years, and eight years old, the whole world lies ahead. Anything can happen. They can live to do anything they want to do. The possibilities are endless.
You can’t put a price on that.
It’s easy to take these life changing moments for granted, but we do ourselves a great injustice if we do. Those who are truly happy, are the ones who seize the moment, seize the feeling, and revel in it. This sounds corny, and cliché, and that’s why we refuse to realize it.
Because too often in life, we fast forward through the new beginnings, the fresh starts, the arcs in the story line.
We rush through the little moments to get to the next great part of our existence, but the living of the little moments suffers, and is forgotten, or the significance of these little slices of real life are lost.
When I was eight, I only wanted to be 10 — so I’d be in the double digits. When I was a teenager, I just wanted to be 16 so I could drive a car. Then I counted down the days until I was able to go to college, then marked the calendar until graduation, getting married, having kids, buying a house…until there was no living in the now, just marking time until the next level was achieved.
At every step, I’ve been working to make it to the next step, because every next step, I thought, would finally make me the happiest. All the while, I should have realized that I was already happy, and I should have appreciated what I already had.
Life isn’t in the next step. It isn’t necessarily what’s around the corner. Life has to be lived in the here and now, in the daily grind, in the evening meal, the little league game, helping the kids with homework, sharing a movie with a spouse, even cleaning the house or doing yard work.
These little moments “in between” are what we’ll wish for years from now, and what we’ll miss when it’s too late. Not the promotions, the monetary windfalls, the toys and houses we buy, or the prizes we win as we travel along in this plane of existence.
Because the joy in life is the new birth, the laugh shared with children, the shared experience with a best friend, a birthday party, a hockey game, or a half hour in the park throwing the frisbee to the dog.
And once these moments are gone, these little “life vignettes,” they can’t be recaptured with videotape, film, or on a digital hard drive.
They’re gone before you know it.
That’s why we have to live for today, and recognize what’s important.
It’s the journey, not the destination that counts.
Cean Burgeson can be reached at: email@example.com