The best picture you can take is one that doesn’t require a camera. It’s a mental image. A lasting impression for a moment that stood still, even though no one said, “cheese”.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about life and how it comes in waves. I’ve been thinking about what it means to live in the moment.
Is it eerie that as I finished typing that last sentence, the lyric “And even though the moment passed me by, I still can’t turn away” played through my laptop speakers?
“Name” by the Goo Goo Dolls, for those who care.
I have a good memory for moments.
I remember the last softball game I ever played as a kid. We won the championship for the second year in a row (I was 3-0 in championship games, thank you) and I remember turning back to look at the field one last time before going to the car.
And the image I remember is a party size pizza box on top of a garbage can that was too small to hold it. The moment wasn’t made to be special, even though it was the end of something.
I remember the last day of high school, which was prom. My dad picked me up at the banquet hall, I said goodbye to the people around me, and left. It wasn’t some emotional send-off with hugs or anything. It was just time to go home.
At the time, I didn’t have Facebook. It never hit me that I would never see some of these people again. There was no sense of, “I’ll miss this”. That’s not to say high school was horrible, I just never gave it a thought one way or another.
Then, going off to a university where I only knew one other person – that didn’t scare me. I’m still baffled by this. Not once did I ever think, “Oh man, this is a daunting situation.” Nope. Just rolled with the punches.
The first time I truly recognized a moment was ending and that I’d miss it, was at the end of my second year. I lived in residence and my floor was the greatest collection of people I’ve ever been around.
We were a family. I’m talking, nightly dinners where 25 people marched to the dining hall and put tables together.
At the time, you think it’s going to last forever. Then the end of the school year arrives and everyone goes back to where they came from. I remember being one of the last to move out and having to watch my friends leave one by one.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sit in the hallway and cry beneath my hoodie. That’s real.
Although I’d see everyone the following year, it wouldn’t be the same. We wouldn’t be just an obnoxious yell away.
By the time I made it to the first day of my final year, I felt like I was fighting a countdown clock. I told myself I’d say “Yes” to as many things as I could for the next eight months because once they’re done, it’s over.
Fast-forward to my final day. I finished my exam in the morning and had meet-ups scheduled with friends all the way until 2am, just to say goodbye. That included a big hug for my favourite cafeteria lady, who had become my mom away from mom.
I was sucking the juice out of every last second because I knew how I would feel after it was all gone.
By that point in my life, I was starting to recognize the starts, stops, and re-starts of life that are disguised as weeks and months, but are really just moments that shape who you are for a specific amount of time.
I started this blog two months later. Two months after that, school started again and I wrote about all the little things I missed about it. That post got featured and opened me up to a whole world of bloggers.
If I didn’t shake my shoulders out and strip myself of every excuse as to why I couldn’t share my emotional thoughts about missing school on a “sports blog”, I probably stop blogging a few weeks later and aren’t writing this post right now.
As for all of you bloggers, I’ve been here for six years and bounced from friend group to friend group. The reality is, bloggers stop blogging and all of a sudden that community you were apart of is no more.
Those people you interacted with are gone. Those conversations you had end. The clock runs out.
So, yeah, maybe in the back of my head I’m wondering who’s still going to be here two years from now.
Outside of this blog, in the past few years, I’ve had the tendency to recognize when something will end before it even starts, and thus not allowing myself to enjoy it fully.
I’ve been trying not to do that lately.
But before this turns into an episode of Dr. Phil where he tells me I have some sort of phobia, let me say this:
At the beginning of this post I said I’ve been thinking about life and how it comes in waves. All of these experiences were waves and they ended because I didn’t need them anymore. I don’t mean to say that so bluntly, but rather, one thing ended so another could begin.
The people in your life ten years ago probably aren’t the same ones in your life right now.
Hear me out.
In sports, a head coach can sometimes only take a team so far before they need another voice to lead them places they’ve never been.
In life, I am my own team. To someone else, I am the coach. You are your own team. To someone else, you are the coach.
If that doesn’t make sense, it’s because I have no credentials to be saying any of this.
There’s a reason why we’re still not close friends with every close friend we’ve ever had from the day we were born. The special ones stay with us, everyone else is dropped.
Again, that may sound blunt, but isn’t it true?
If you’ve ever seen the show, “How It’s Made” you’ll know that products go through many stages before appearing on shelves at the grocery store.
We are the same way. In each stage, we find new people, new experiences, new places, new ideas, new mindsets – you name it. Each stage prepares us for the next one, I truly believe that.
So, when it comes to living in the moment and not worrying about the starts and stops of life – I’m trying to look at my memories as part of the story, rather than the whole book. And the moment that I’m living is just preparing me for the next one.
Because for a while, those memories felt like giant figures sitting in the row ahead of me at the theatre, preventing me from seeing the next scene in the movie of my life.
Wow, that line was good. I should end this now.
Anyway, that’s what has been on my mind, and it was brought to the forefront last night when the Toronto Raptors moved to within one win of the NBA Finals.
It hit me that I better enjoy this – and not worry about when it may end – because who knows when it’ll happen again?