I read a meme once and it went along the lines of “People always acknowledge the first time for something but we so easily overlook the last time. The last time you tuck your child into bed, the last time you drop your child off at school, the last time you gather around with all your friends present, the last time you talk to your mom/dad/brother/sister. Be thankful, be present”.
That’s not it exactly but you get the jist of the message. And it is so fundamentally true.
Lives change, children grow, people die, effort is lost and without even realizing it, the last time you’ve done whatever it is you used to do has passed. That particular meme really impacted me. Deeply. It is so so sad but also so so true. A lot of people spend their lives looking forward with excitement and looking back with regret but rare are those who live in the moment.
How often have you found yourself simply enjoying space with people you love. Listening to the tone of their voice, watching how their eyes wrinkle when they smile, or noticing the way they fidget with the sleeve of their coat.
How often have you gotten busy and cancelled that lunch with an old friend? Always with the intention of rescheduling but then time slowly slips by and one day you realize it’s been years since you’ve seen your friend and they’ve become more of an acquaintance than a friend.
Being present, really present is difficult. It takes practice. It is a conscious choice to forget the last 10 minutes and not think about the next 10 minutes but really pay attention to this very moment. Once a minute or moment passes, you’ll never get it back. We only have so many minutes and to turn those into moments leads to a rich life.
I am so very grateful that I started this practice when I did. It has allowed me to appreciate so many moments I knew I would want to look back on and remember, not just what we were doing but the feelings. The joy, the happiness, the hope. Without making the conscious choice to acknowledge those feelings, in that moment, I would have just remembered the day but not the impact it had on my soul.
So, if you ever see me just observing, with a soft smile on my face, know I am appreciating the moment. Observing myself and others around me and just taking it all in.