I’ve been dealing lately with moment to moment living. Sometimes that is necessary. I get it. Life often presents us with urgent opportunities during which we must react.
Maybe it’s a ‘guy’ thing. I think most of my life has been spent thinking that I’m waiting or living in the moment that will change everything. I want to impress my wife with the big gesture. I want to guide my children with the incredible, insightful conversation that impacts them for the rest of their life. I want to achieve that astounding project at work that people talk about for decades as a significant piece of our mission. I want to be a hero.
It’s a lot like my dreams as a child of being the wild west hero that saves the town, or the quarterback that throws the wining touchdown, or the rescue volunteer that acts at just the right time in just the right place to save the innocent people at risk from the bomb, or the runaway bus, or the charging grizzly… Yeah, I had a great imagination.
Maybe it’s just a romantic dream of being that one person, in the exact time, and born for that exact moment.
Lately, those dreams have been morphing into something very different. Maybe it’s just because I celebrated another trip around the sun. Maybe it’s because AARP is sending me mail. Or maybe, just maybe, some important lessons are starting to seep through my hard head and even harder pride and selfishness.
I’m starting to think that now what really matters is the stack of small moments adding together over time. I think those “insignificant” cups of coffee, passing “I love you”‘s, and minutes spent listening mean more over the decades than any of the seconds I’ve experienced in the spotlight, or hearing applause.
I went for a ride last weekend with my oldest daughter. She wanted to ride the Tail of the Dragon. It’s US 129 at the corner of North Carolina and Tennessee. Fun ride, and known around the world as a destination for motorcyclists to ride curvy roads, buy pictures, and get t-shirts. We did all three. Together.
We spent the night in Cherokee, North Carolina and got to hear a wonderfully informative campfire talk about the history of the Cherokee. We shared breakfast in a sleepy small town diner, trading bites from our plates dripping with tasty calories. We watched fog lift from mountain streams, and sunlight play on a lake held back by a tremendous dam. We found a basset hound that was as friendly as he was aged. Finally, on the way home we stopped by a tourist train station and had lunch.
Nothing special happened. No specific moments are really life changing. No deep conversations. We just went on a ride together.
It felt heroic.