“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
I have been working on a personal project that has eaten up well over a hundred hours of my life in the past month. Saturday night, after it was over, it felt almost surreal. The event turned out moderately well, but as usual I was able to see a thousand improvements should we do it again. Turns out we will probably do it again.
Life really is about moments. Most of my life is very forgettable – the days spent going to work, getting groceries, cleaning up and making dinner. I cannot really remember what I did yesterday, but I remember vividly the moments of my life. I remember, like it was yesterday, reaching one hand out of the side of the airplane and pushing it through the solid bank of clouds that we were skirting under just before I jumped out of the plane. I remember sitting beside Little Devil Rapids. I remember parasailing with my dad in Florida, swimming in Grand Cayman, Ben’s wedding, Angus’s birth. I remember my honeymoon. I remember getting sick for five days when I found out I was going to have a kid, so many years ago. I remember the girls singing last Saturday night. Moments.
We all have moments. The goal is to have more than a few, I suspect. So much of life is spent doing things that don’t matter and driving places that we don’t really want to go. No one looks back at their life and wishes they would have done more laundry. For me, when I look back at my life all I will probably remember are the moments, good and bad.
Moments don’t always just happen. Sometimes we need to break out of the incredible momentum of the everyday and make things happen. It seems to me that the people who are the most successful, the most energetic, the most interesting to be around are those few people who step out of their boring lives and volunteer, or create, or dream, or become more than they once were. It is tempting to just live and let life pass us by, it is harder by far to live a life worth living.
Creating moments is inconvenient, especially if you decide to change your little piece of the world. Moments take so much time and effort, if they are audacious. I remember texting and Facebooking the people I am working on my project with several times in the past month with things like, “Is this worth it?”, and “What have we gotten ourselves into?” I was petrified that I would fail, or worse still, only make a poor effort. I wanted to pull the plug, actually tried to, on more than one occasion. Moments are not always fun, especially if you want to have a big one.
I tell my clients often, “You only have one precious and short life, what do you want to accomplish with it?” I realize that I am not done with moments and desire to make a splash while I am still able to jump in the water. Someday I will be too old to do much of anything and I wonder if I will look back at my life and wonder, was it enough? Did I live while I was alive?
What legacy will I leave?