Thursday, October 15, 2015

Don't Wait to Appreciate

Closing up and winterizing our tiny cabin is always a sad experience; it is officially putting an end to the year's summer traveling and is a gloomy reminder that we won't be back to our cozy forest cottage until next spring.  However, besides all the goodbyes and closings, my family and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful "end of summer" vacation.  Although autumn's cold hands have already touched us, the weather warmed up, the stars twinkled brighter than on any of the summer nights, and our family spent most of the days enjoying the outdoors. 

On Sunday night, my whole family sat around our blazing fire pit, staring up at the night sky.  As everyone gazed at the endless speckling of night's tiny lights and laughed at our goofy and sometimes-strange conversations, immense happiness filled me as I reminisced about similar moments from my childhood past - the wonderful summers spent at our cabin, my childhood's fun vacation adventures, and the lovable (even the frustrating) moments spent with my family.  While I of course did enjoy these types of memories as a child, I am embarrassed to admit that it took up to that night's reflection for me to fully appreciate all of my experiences and adventures.  All of a sudden, my enjoyable time with my family turned into a discouraged self-disappointment at my own lack of gratitude and connection in the past.  Although we weren't doing much by lazily relaxing around the fire pit, I pushed away these negative thoughts by being completely present and soaking up as much as I could.  At that moment, I silently vowed to myself to try and cherish every occasion as soon as it happens, and I think it is a good reminder for us all. 

The saying goes that "life is short", and the utter truth within those three words can't be denied.  While we may not know when it will be, there is a limit to how much we will experience.  Sooner or later, our time with our loved ones, our ability to jump around or go on amazing trips, even our frustrating obstacles will come to an end.  There is a limit to what we can do, who we can talk to, and where we can go, but there is not a limit to what we can take out of the experience and what we can remember.  The more we fully immerse ourselves into a moment, allowing our senses to feel every second, the more we will take away from it.  Think about it this way - if you are sitting on your phone the whole time while at a baseball game with your friends or loved ones, you are distracted by the text messages and the internet searches; you aren't paying attention to the conversations and cheering as much as you can be, and the game's overall memory will be your phone. 

Don't take years to realize the worth or the greatness of your time; don't wait until you can no longer can have those experiences to miss them.  Instead, ingrain the memories within your mind and your heart by being entirely present within that instant.  Rather than wasting a new memory by regretting your disconnection from your past experiences, appreciate and live the moment now.    

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