The morning of the first of the new year and new decade my dad and I woke early to watch the sunrise together from a wind-blown, Wyoming prairie. The sky was mostly cloudy and affected the view, but we both knew without directly saying it that it was just as much about being in each other’s company on the morning of the first day of the year than seeing the sun peak over the horizon.
On our way to the viewing spot, I thanked my dad for joining me.
“Of course,” he said. “I haven’t always seen the value in these moments. In the past if you asked me to watch the sunrise I would've said I didn't have time. But now I understand how simple and important these moments are.”
I smiled, knowing these are really theonlymoments we have. A lifetime when broken down is simply made of small moments: decades form lifetimes, years form decades, days form years, and the days are filled with small moments that we choose on a daily basis.
We often approach our lives with a big-picture perspective. We see our journey as an entire lifetime and quickly neglect the seemingly mundane days that create it. We easily live for major, capstone events like weddings, births, graduations, new jobs, new homes, and retirements. These occasions are exciting and worth celebrating of course, but they make up a small portion of our lives.
In between the capstones is a substantial amount of time and opportunity to experience and enjoy life’s gifts. If spent intentionally, the time between major events can actually be more meaningful and serve a greater purpose in one’s life. Everyday the sun rises and sets, with a number of small but significant occurrences happening between.
For example: the birds sing to welcome the start of a fresh day, the soles of your feet offer an invitation to carry you on a walk along a river or through a forested path, the sparkling winter snow rests on pine trees, the sound of a friend’s laugh penetrates your ears–and ah, not to mention your ears themselves, which allow you to hear melodies and singing birds.
And, if you’re like me, you have opportunities to be in the presence of loved ones you’re still fortunate to have around you.
This year, try not to rely on the grandiose events as markers of your success or your joy. Turn your gaze instead at the often overlooked but critical moments that ultimately form a lifetime. There, you will find magic.
Happy New Year. I wish you a year, a decade, and a lifetime filled with meaningful moments.