Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is it the events, or is it the moments?

What makes up a life? Some view a life through its banner moments, those red letter days - birthdays, graduations, weddings, deaths. Through its achievements - degrees, career, promotions - or through its material trappings, its houses, cars, or clothes.

To me, those are just the things that make life itself possible, just the backdrop for the main stage. Nice to have, yes, but they aren't a measure of a life well-lived.

Life itself is lived in the moments between the events. It is the smell of a baby's head, or that milk-drunk look they get after you've gently nursed them to sleep. It is the way your young child carefully holds your hand when you're crossing the street, or perhaps the way they don't, making you run frantically after them. The pride on an older child's face when they bring home a successful spelling test, or learn how to tie their shoes.

It isn't the grand vacation you took or the museums you saw. It's remembering the dinner you went out for while you were there, the one where you sat next to a table of very tipsy older women from Kansas City who kept asking where you'd bought your shirt (just a few blocks away) and when you thought your luggage might arrive (I haven't a clue, if I did, I probably wouldn't have gone out to buy a clean shirt).

Life isn't the college degree that hangs on your wall (or lies stuffed in your drawer), it's the course you took on American Folk Song and Ballad, the one that stayed with you years after political philosophy or statistics ever did.

Life shouldn't be about the wedding ceremony, those 5 hours that took months to plan but flew by in mere moments. It should be about the marriage that came next. All the little idiosyncrasies you grow to learn, and then to love. Or not. And yes, the moment that turned you into a parent was a seminal one, but is that really a more defining moment than all the years of day to day parenting that came next?

Life is in the little things. It sounds so simple, and yet not. Somehow we still become too busy to notice that life is speeding by while we hurry to forward to the next red square on a calendar.

Life is not the events, it's the moments in between.

I'm going to try harder to remember that.


The Writers Island prompt for this week was The Moment.

30 comments:

Jo said...

So true...sometimes I think that's why I've never been 'driven' -- I get too caught up in the moments and am not focused on the big things-- not that that's a bad thing, not in my book at any rate! Well said. You've just given me an spin-off idea for a poem (thanks).

Marja said...

I totally agree. It is all about feeling good. What you do in these little moments.

Rambler said...

Life is not the events, it's the moments in between.

just amazing quote this one.

paisley said...

for many years i have had one phrase that keeps reoccurring in my brain,, i am the culmination of all that i have been,,, and in all of those moments lies the truth,,,, doesn't it.....

gautami tripathy said...

It is made up of disjointed moments.
These make for the bigger picture.


unconnected moments

Phyllis Sommer said...

mmm....so beautifully put.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Very, very true. I think that those people who put too much stock into 'events' end up disappointed b/c they can never live up to our expectations.

Mel said...

So true Robin - and how often we (or rather I should say I) don't remember it.

Rose Dewy Knickers said...

Yes indeed. We can spend our entire life waiting for the big event and miss everything else.

Rose

xo

Pieces of Me said...

Funny, Iwas just thinking this as I headed out this morning - thinking "a new day, always fresh."

Thanks for that excellent and important reminder.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Beautiful, beautiful. You said it so perfectly, I'm speechless.

Lea said...

I really like that line of not the events but the moments in between... it's like breathing, that space between. Thanks Robin!

Maddy said...

Me too, especially this time of year when everything is so hectic.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Mrs. W said...

Yes. Yes. Very well put, Robin. I'll be meditating on this some more today.

Preethi said...

How true.. life indeed is a collection of moments - some we want to treasure and some we would love to forget... but thats what life is all about...
a well written piece this was.
Moment

paris parfait said...

You are so right about life being lived in the small moments. Too often the big events are disappointing, or they pass so quickly, becoming a blur. It's the little things that count, as you've so beautifully said.

tumblewords said...

Oh, for sure. It sounds so simple and yet it is one of the hardest habits to instill. Nice post!

julia said...

'That milk-drunk look they get after you've gently nursed them to sleep.'
What a beautiful memory. Little moments like that are truly jewels.

I did my All About Me Me Me today. Check it out!

Space Mom said...

So true...

UL said...

'all the moments in-between', yes, that's what it counts albeit often we have a tendency to forget..thank you for the reminder and such a great post, Robin.
UL

Mary Timme said...

This reminds me of the quote, life is what happens while we are busy living. Nice to think about and be reminded of indeed!

Lucy said...

'Life is not the events, it's the moments in between.' Robin I just LOVED every word of this poignant post. You are so right, and as difficult as it is, I am also trying to remember and savor all those precious moments. Thanks for sharing your insightful wisdom! :)

Shelly Kneupper Tucker said...

Oh, wow. Wake up call. Thank you, dear. Gotta quit marking the calendar and open my eyes.

Shelly
This Eclectic Life

Herb Urban said...

Well said. Your post reminded me of that John Lennon line "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". Very true indeed.

Just Jen said...

What a great way of wording it!
I need to remember these words!

keith hillman said...

Now you've really made me think! Thank you for that.

Prats said...

**Life itself is lived in the moments between the events
So lovely!!

You have summed up all the moments and made us enjoy the same ....

sister AE said...

exactly so.

angie said...

What a wonderfully thought provoking post. Thanks for taking the time to post on my blog so that I in turn could visit yours. It's been time well spent.

Fourier Analyst said...

Beautifully written, and so true. Thanks for these thoughts! I, too, will try to keep them in mind!