My family recently suffered loss when my grandfather passed on. We took out all the photo albums (people no longer buy these, do they?), dusted them off and went through them one by one looking for good photos of him as we made funeral arrangements. The afternoon that we did that was filled with laughter and this strong sense of togetherness as nostalgia washed over us and served as balm for our wounds. We had photographs of my parents when they were rocking bell bottoms; when my mother rocked back to school lines on her first day of university and my father barely had a beard. Most of those photos were hilarious. Some were adorable—I’m pleased to announce that I have indeed always been this cute haha. We had photographs of weddings, funerals, new-born babies, birthday parties, and family days out in the sun. The one question my mother kept asking as we went back in time was ‘Where does the time go?’
Life is hectic. One day you’re playing with your siblings outside as ten-years-olds and the next day you’re graduating from college. I imagine this is exactly how it feels for parents, although to us it may have dragged on in some parts. We get so busy moving to the next stage that we forget about today. My parents were looking at photos of their wedding day and wondering how there could possibly have been a time when they were twenty-something and just starting out in life. Now it’s been almost thirty years since and they can barely remember what it felt like to be young. Where did the time go?
So much changes within a few years that we lose many precious moments in between our busy days. When I was primary school I couldn’t wait to go to high school. When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to go to university. When I was in university I couldn’t wait to start working. How many todays have I lost so far as I waited for tomorrow?
I am coming to understand, finally, that we are here and now for a reason. The beauty of learning to take one step at a time is that is that you will know that the only thing you truly have is this moment. So why waste it? Not everyday will be good, but every day will have something to be thankful for. A lot of life happens in the details. There is so much of who we are and what we are here for in the small things we often ignore. A smile. A hug. A cup of hot tea. A good movie. A lazy Saturday morning. Appreciating the moment doesn’t necessarily mean going out and doing the wildest thing you can think of. It means being present, being mindful of right here and right now. Knowing that what we are doing right now may seem dull, but it matters because all we really have is right now.
This is what people mean when they say we should stop to smell the roses. Because time is always moving; you will never have the moment back. The best we can do is try to appreciate every day as it comes, try to make as memories as we can with the people we love, and one day in the future when we are wondering where the time went, we will know that though it is gone, we spent it well.