Life is a series of moments – a never-ending procession of brief interludes. Viewed alone, each moment tells its own story. That was the moment I fell in love. Landed my dream job. Started my vacation. Lost my temper. Lost my father. Viewed together, they make up a life.
Like the tale of the six blind men and the elephant, where each man pictures the animal according to the part they feel, if you view a person based on the one moment of their life that you experience, you could come away with a very different view than the person who experiences a very different moment. Beth striving to meet a work deadline looks very different than Beth listening to her favorite musicians play on a Friday night. I try to remember that when someone pisses me off, or does something thoughtless, that maybe they’re just having a bad day – a bad moment.
But each moment comes from the same source, so there’s always a constant. My favorite author, Diana Gabaldon, was asked how she came up with the villain in her book Outlander. Her reply was that he came from inside her, like all of her characters. That’s not to say that deep down she’s an evil person; instead, she’s like the rest of us, a Sybil of sorts. We all have multiple facets to our personalities; some just come out more often than others. I’m a workaholic, a perfectionist, a hedonist, a loner, a friend, a musician, a writer, a dreamer, a taskmaster, a lover. I’m organized, whimsical, disillusioned, irreverent, long-suffering, hopeful. It takes all of those facets to make up one slightly imperfect, but always optimistic, Beth.
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of one particular moment, believing that that is how life is – that you will always be sad, or depressed, or alone. The trick is to focus on the positive moments rather than the negative ones. Pick that moment you first fell in love, landed that perfect job, bought that new car, met that new friend. Grab that moment and hang onto it with both hands, memorize how it felt, and do your best to make all of your moments mimic that one. Because in the end, it’s a choice. I can choose to be negative or positive, happy or sad, busy or bored. I control which moments I focus on and shape my life around, and which moments I let slip away. I’d rather remember that time I was in love and happy instead of the one where I was heart-broken and alone. Who wouldn’t?
My life is a series of moments. Some are frustrating, some joyful, some boring. Each one stands alone as an event that will never be repeated in that exact same way. But all together, they make up a life. The trick is to make each moment count; make sure that each moment is filled with good stuff instead of bad, each brief interlude reflects the person you want to be – at least as much as you can control it. When the bad moments come anyway, do your best to let them fade. Because this, too, shall pass.
Here’s hoping that today, all of your moments are good ones.