There’s this promise I keep making myself. Every few months it comes back and I remember. Deep down I always want to write more. Creating content is a huge passion of mine and, on days where I’m digging for ideas, I go back through old photos or blog posts. When I see old faces of friends I had and the places I’ve been, I always wish that I had written more or taken more pictures.
In fact, there’s a greater promise that I make when I see older pictures: I want to make an effort to live more, to feel more alive, and to appreciate what I have. When I look back, those seem to be the traits that I lack. Why wasn’t I happier? What kept me from taking those opportunities? Why didn’t I appreciate what the people around me?
There’s something that has to be realized from this though. Each time I make that commitment to foster those traits, I put it off into the future. I say “I’ll be more alive when I’m out with friends or when I’m doing something”. “When something exciting happens, I’ll take it all in and be appreciative of it”.
Well, that’s the problem there: I’m waiting for an exhilarating experience before I appreciate what I have. Rather than enjoying mundane day-to-day life, I’m waiting for a huge moment. Like having a wonderful night with friends or exploring the town. I’m craving more, more, more.
In retrospect, those huge moments were great. Last month I got to meet an amazing group of photographers, I definitely won’t forget that. Even bigger than that, I got to live for another month. Each day I got out of bed and went to work. I pushed myself and blogged. The days were not distinct; they mesh together into one giant experience. I cannot differentiate last Tuesday from last Sunday.
However, I will miss last those days more than any of the big moments. Laying in bed for a few extra minutes, walking to work, things like wearing sweatshirts because the temperature is dropping.
These moments don’t happen overnight. They creep up and slowly encompass your life. Going to night shift is a total lifestyle change but you don’t really notice it. It happens with time. One day I will look back and see the significance of it but at the moment I can’t see it. It’s too mundane.
Meeting new people is the same way: it doesn’t feel significant. Hanging around your best friend each day doesn’t feel special – it’s just how life is. Then, with time, it changes. In years you’ll back at the friendship and see its value. But, for the moment, you’re too close to it. It’s all happening in front of your eyes.
See, life is happening around you. Each day, you’re making memories. They may not be distinct but you’ll remember them one day. You’ll look back and miss waking up and getting ready for work in ten minutes flat.
That promise I made to feel more alive, to live more, and to really appreciate what I have – that starts now. It begins with having an appreciation for what I have. If that’s sleepless nights, cold mornings, and long days, then I have to accept it for what it is. I can’t wait for spectacular moments; that’s not where life is.
Our experiences are built over time. Friendships don’t happen overnight and books aren’t written in one week. You can only walk forward one step at a time. Rather than saying you’ll feel more alive in the future, and disregarding how you feel now, you should enjoy the mundane. Life isn’t in one-of-a-kind experience, it’s in the day-to-day. Find that and you’ll find yourself.