Sitting in the living room and watching my siblings playfully scream fight over Monopoly (whoever invented this game did a great disservice to my ear drums); listening to my little sister falter over her “beginning readers” book after she had so eagerly asked to read aloud to me; taking a walk in the twilight over the path that spans my parent’s backyard and appreciating the fact that I am no longer skittish of the dark (much). In spite of the “downs” which level the “ups” of this seesaw life, this thread of joyful, colorful, simple moments holds the tapestry of the “everyday” together.
The thing is, I didn’t always think of these moments as being particularly colorful or joyful or even “simple” in the sense that "simple" is perfectly ok. For many years, I was too busy running around trying to make it obvious to everyone that my life counted for something and that I could be someone who was “above-average” that I never was able to really treasure what was going on around me. For a while, I kept waiting for the right person, the right situation, the right achievement to propel me to a colorful life of gratification and rich experiences, and I didn’t fully realize that the moments around me in my current stage of life weren’t going to repeat themselves.
I’m only a young millennial still, but I have come to realize in the past several months that, although there is nothing wrong with looking ahead and having dreams (it is actually unwise not to!), there has to be a balance with being able to live in the here and now and actually enjoy it. This balance is necessary if we’re going to live full, rich, whole lives right now and not just someday down the road when things get better or are futures look brighter. It is so easy to plan and daydream about our futures, but in reality they will be what we are making them to be in our present; there will be no transforming magic in the coming years, just the result of our choices today.
Learning how to treasure the moment is not always easy, especially depending on the people that surround you (whose choices are out of your control) and the circumstances that currently influence your actions and emotions (circumstances that are also, no surprise, out of your control). But one of the things about joy is that you often have to look for it and be willing to choose it even when it doesn’t appear to be there, especially in the average moments. I find myself looking around at my family and friends and realizing that the moments I am experiencing as a young, single woman whose vocation is as a student and whose dreams are still a little uncertain will never come again, and I find joy in the process. In the end, I think that one of the best ways you and I can love ourselves in the moment and prepare for the days ahead is to fully enjoy the lives around us and the places that we are in right now, today.