You know those key moments that we look back on and realize that something amazing happened, but we didn’t really notice at the time?
Recently I had a realization about one of these moments that happened when I was about 24—that was a LONG time ago.
I worked with someone who lived in an old schoolhouse that was converted into an apartment. It was the most amazing home I had ever seen, and… I would actually move into it now if I had the chance.
It had all these really interesting nooks and crannies hidden in the space—chalkboards in the living room, urinals in the bathroom. It was especially amazing for a group of twenty-somethings who were new to living in our own spaces, and liked to hang out and have bonfires in the yard late into the wee hours of the night.
Well this guy, let’s call him “Chris,” he and I hit it off. He had recently started working with all of us. Nothing ultimately came of it, but this one night after a bonfire (don’t worry, this post is only rated PG), we found a fun little hideaway under a set of old stairs. We gathered blankets, settled in and just talked, and talked. All night. We just talked—really.
Until the sun came up.
Connection is something that we often strive for. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes it’s damn near impossible to achieve. Sometimes it happens unexpectedly, at just the right moment. We meet a perfect stranger who we might never see again, but we have this amazing, transformative moment with them.
It can be almost magical.
So this was one of those moments for me. We talked about everything—everything two people in their early 20s can talk about.
I have a strong memory of saying, “I want to BE. I want to fully live in the moment all the time.” I remember saying that I wanted to always feel life fully—the good and the bad, and the in-between.
At this time in the mid-nineties, I hadn’t heard of mindfulness, it wasn’t the buzzword it is now. Or if it was, I didn’t run in circles where it was talked about. I was too busy listening to the grunge music and being quite involved in the life-defining subculture of 90s “alternative” music scene. Any of you remember the movie Singles? Yup – I watched that too many times to count. Plus I was really into my quazi-goth/Gap fusion fashion.
Looking back on the last almost two decades…I feel like something was ignited in me when I said those words that night tucked under the schoolhouse staircase. Life hasn’t been particularly easy. I have had a lot of struggles, and pain, and a heap of joy, wonder, and real connection.
One thing for sure is that I made a conscious effort to BE, even when I wanted to hide. Sometimes I did hide, but I would eventually remember the promise I made to myself.
The promise to BE.
BE in the moment, whatever it offered—to face the pain, struggle and learn from it.
Treasure the even small moments of connection I have with people.
To enjoy even the small gifts that life has to offer.