What’s the value of a moment? The meaning behind every interaction, every experience. It’s a heavy question, right? The truth is, too often, we don’t understand the importance of an event until it becomes a memory and the people in it until they are no longer here.
There’s a quote that’s always resonated with me. It reads, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived moving forwards.” Really, it’s ironic that we don’t understand how the puzzle pieces of our lives fit together until it’s too late.
It was a company get together four years ago when I took a seemingly insignificant photograph. I remember the laughter and the words, “You get one picture, Katie.” I was shocked. It’s a rare occasion that Becci would allow me to take her photograph. She grabbed a couple of girls that were standing nearby and posed for the camera.
“That’s it, Katie! No more pictures!” I begged her for a couple more shots. Being in PR, I’m always looking to photograph our staff, particularly those that hold some sort of central position. But of course, her answer was no. It’s a sort of rejection that I’ve become quite comfortable with these days.
“Katie, those pictures were awful. I couldn’t see anything. I was squinting.”
I reassured her that I took a good photo. Then, I packed into her tiny purple Honda with a crowd of people, and we started the trek back to Missoula. I remember the conversation. I remember every moment of what at the time felt like trivial banter during the ride home.
The thing is, that interaction keeps playing over and over again in my mind like a broken record. That day, the moment I took that photograph, it will stick with me forever. Who would have thought that such a seemingly meaningless interaction would become so important?
You see, what I didn’t realize at that moment was how vital that photo would become. That four years later, I would dig up that picture and use it for something so important. A tribute to celebrate the life, strength, and tenacity of a truly inspirational woman.
But, that photograph is just one of thousands that I’ve collected over the years at this organization. In fact, I have approximately 23,000 photos on my phone right now. That’s an unfathomably large number of moments that I carry around in the palm of my hand every day. Each one telling a story with the potential to become of greater significance.
Really, the value of a life is just the sum of every moment lived. Our experiences make up the mosaic of who we are. And the people in our lives? They are of great importance, but we often don’t take the time to reflect back on that until it’s too late. Worse yet, we get so caught up in the grind of our daily lives that we don’t tell people how much they matter; how much we appreciate their presence in our world’s.
About a month ago, I heard a podcast that posed the question, “Why don’t we have living eulogies?” Think about it for a second. It’s ingrained in our culture to wait until people die to celebrate their lives. To express our gratitude and appreciation only after people are gone. What sense does that make? Why do we wait?
We can’t relive a moment that’s passed us by. So, each day we need to live with great intention. And, since we only get so much time on this planet, we really should make the most of it.
Let’s make the time for those that matter and practice gratitude for all the people in our lives. We shouldn’t need to go above and beyond to be appreciated. Each of us has strengths to be embraced right now; we all bring something to the table to be celebrated.
That said, the last several months have certainly been challenging to say the least. We’ve faced an unprecedented amount of loss at the hands of this pandemic. Living with uncertainty is now commonplace, and many of us struggle to bear the weight of everyday stressors. But, it’s through difficult times that we learn the most important lessons. One of those being that nothing in life should be taken for granted. In a moment’s time, everything can change. There’s no point to holding grudges and settling for anything less than what makes you happy.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Treat it as such, and make the most of each moment lived. Slow down, and be mindful of your dialogue with others. Love without expectation, and treat those around you with compassion. Remember, each day, you have the power to make a difference, one kind word, and thoughtful interaction at a time.