Time and moments. They are the same thing right? Both can be wasted. Both can valued. But when time passes, you may not even notice. Time is passing right now as you read this. When a moment passes, you may not notice either. The big difference, those little moments you miss could change your life.
Time is time. We have 60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. We have 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week. 52 weeks in a year. And as many years as the universe sees fit. Time is constant. It can be counted in whatever unit of measure way you wish.
If there was anything I learned as a choir nerd, it was the amount of minutes in a year. 525,600 minutes. The meaning of that song is truly what this post is about. How do you measure a year? Do you measure it in merely its unit or do you measure it by its quality of moments spent during that time? If you don’t know what song I am talking about, you need to look up the lyrics to Seasons of Love now.
Moments aren’t so easily measured, if they even can be at all. One could pass and you never know. You might have 100 a day, or a 100 in your lifetime. The amount is entirely up to you. I say it is up to you because YOU are the one who must BE PRESENT in order to acknowledge the moment. You must be cognizant of everything going on in order to appreciate.
This, to me, is the most important difference. I have no control over the amount of time I have but I have control over how many moments. My life will not be measured in a unit of time but rather in the moments, big or small.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t always so aware. I let time pass and considered it quality because I survived another rotation around the sun. I sat and watched the minutes pass on a clock, waiting for a school or work day to be over. For a certain time to come. Wasting the moments I could be experiencing in between. Looking back, I have to fight off some feelings of regret when I think about all the moments I allowed to pass unrecognized, or I did not allow to come to fruition. I have worked very hard to not regret the past, but to look at it only as a teaching tool and guidebook for how I do not want to live life. Knowing I cannot get the time back in order to create or be aware of the moments, it’s a tough one to swallow.
However, the lesson I learned from this rewards me greatly. The regret is erased because of the quality and quantity of the moments I have experienced since.
What do you consider a moment? Some people think moments must be some sort of defining experience. There might be some truth to that, but only because I believe even the smallest of moments can shape and create your world and empower your dreams. But moments to me are valuable despite their size. The small moments are the ones so easily overlooked and lost. The ones that slip between the cracks, one’s existing between the big moments. The ones you watch tick by as you wait for the clock to strike a designated time.
We recognize those large defining moments because of their impact or the direction our course moves because of them. But what led up to those big moments? Could the way you treated those little moments have an impact on the big ones? Absolutely. Maybe you missed one of those little moments and the impact it could have had on your soul, your decision-making, your life.
I know this all seems so cliché. People are always telling you to enjoy every second but it is so true. I honestly try not to revisit the past version of myself because I have spent the last few years making her just that, a thing of the past. I see her only as a teacher, there for parts of my life and gone. I have to talk about her again though in regards to what I previously mentioned. She is the one who taught me the importance of those little moments and being aware and present, as well as the impact it has had on my quality of life currently.
I don’t talk about this much. Not many were privy to this information. I struggled a lot with mental health growing up, especially in my late teens and early 20s, even into my late 20s. Those who have been trusted enough to read my writings from that period understand. Only 4 or 5 people possibly. I was depressed. I was always anxious. I lied to cover the destructive behavior I engaged in daily, both physically and mentally,.
I know some reading this are probably like really?? Yes. I was pretty good and being a happy girl who had no reason to be sad. Blah blah blah. This is why we cannot judge people or act like we know their struggles because I was not in a good place for years. I denied who I was. I just wanted time to pass. I wanted everything to be over as quickly as things began.
Yes, I was still a compassionate person but more often than not, I was angry and sad, usually at the same time. I lashed out and made bad decisions. I let these bad, big moments define me because I did not value the ones in between. I wasn’t even aware of their existence. The pain overwhelmed any type of clarity I had.
I am not going to go into what I refer to as my dark arts period much more here. I refer to it as such because some of my best writing came from trying to express my pain on paper. It deserves its own space because I have already slightly strayed from the main idea. Though, it is relevant to understanding the point I am trying to make.
The healing process for me began after a very large and defining moment in my life. I was divorced. I had just had my heartbroken by a person I had basically given my marriage up for (though both were doomed to fail), and lived for about a year in nothing but a web of lies. I met someone who changed my life during this time and managed to completely ruin that as well.
That is when the awakening began. I was alone. I was scared. I had no clue who I was. I had allowed my destructive self to let go of the only thing that saw the true beauty in my soul. That is when it happened. Those dark demons were coming back but this time, I did not let them engulf my heart and soul. I started to look around. I tried to take each little moment and recognize the impact it had on me. Time was irrelevant to my healing. Time does not heal all wounds, moments do. I needed moments of all sizes to fill the holes I had created in my soul. I needed the recognition of all sizes of moments to build the person I wanted to be.
The more present I became, the more moments occurred. Those moments caused a shift inside me allowing be to become even more present and aware. Now, when big moments occured, I was more appreciative, whether they were good or bad. I was prepared. I had almost a backlog of all these little moments to help sustain me through the darkness. Almost like little fireflies in a jar, lending me their light through what used to feel like eternal night. Now, the light of those moments showed me the way until the rays of the sun shone on me again.
Now, I find myself in these moments all the time. Watching snowflakes float the ground. Watching the rise and fall of a dog’s chest as we cuddle on the couch. Staring at my wife for no reason other than to memorize every part of her face. The smell of freshly brewed coffee and the anticipation of the first drink in the morning. Stopping and staring 1000 times every hike or trip to just take in all the beauty and life around me. The smile on my mom’s face as she pushes herself to make it to the top of a mountain. Standing in negative degree weather in the middle of a wilderness because I am so overcome with the beauty of the stars I risk frostbite because I cannot stop staring at the sparkling diamonds in the sky. Getting up early just to have an opportunity to watch the sunrise. Listening to the laughter of my nieces and nephews. The glow of a full moon and the way it can turn night into day. The feel of the earth on my bare feet. The joy a glimpse of a rainbow brings no matter how quickly it dissipates.
I am not trying to say everything is rainbows and butterflies now. I still struggle some days and I know I will forever. But now, oh but now — I have moments to help me get through the time that passes. I have moments to fill the emptiness when it comes. I have moments to look forward to and to look back on. I have moments. I stopped measuring time because now I have a life made up of immeasurable moments.