If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves. Maria Edgeworth
This is a concept many of us forget. Our lives are made up of many moments. The quality of those moments determines the quality of our lives, be that good or bad. For me, that quote made me stop and think over some of the moments of my life. Some were good. Some were bad. Those moments which we remember shape our lives may stand out, but it's the ones we ignore which may have more impact as the years slip away.
The quote made me think about my choices over the years. We often make choices without thinking of the effects that choice will have on our life and future. Deciding what to have for a meal may not be life changing unless you have medical problems. Deciding you career, when to move, or if to marry and have children will be live changing. Many of us spend more time in deciding what car to buy than on our relationships with those closest to us. It does make me wonder why.
Recently I made a major change in moving to Arizona. It was after careful thought and a year of travel. I dislike cities. For 30 years I lived in the large metropolis of south Florida while longing for the open spaces of the wilderness. When I started traveling upon my retirement, I began to realize how much I hated the city while dreading the need to return there. When I was tramping around Arcadia National Park, I knew then I wasn't going to return to Florida to live. Somewhere along my route I would find somewhere to live where I could have open spaces and the freedom which goes with it. That was a defining moment in my life. To make that decision, I had to look at other moments and define what they meant and what I needed to do.
We all have defining moments in your lives. We only need to take the time to evaluate where that choice will take us. Things like completing your education then moving near your parents to take care of them is a decision which will define your immediate future and possibly your long term future. For me, that decision had me spending 30 years in an environment where I was unhappy. That is one of those moments were you need to be sure of what you are going to do. I did what I needed to at the time, but I waited for 10 years before leaving the city to find a peace I hadn't had in close to 40 years.
We also have those precious moments when our child first says mama or walks, goes to school, marries or has their own children. That moment when you marry or even say I love you. Those moments you remember for a lifetime as they are ones which tug on your emotions, making them memorable.
It's the little moments when you show a kindness, make someone laugh, give a hug when needed, smile at the person who needs to be seen which when added up, make your years and life better. It's something we forget as we wend our way through busy lives. We need to make all the moments count. When they become years, the memories will make it all worthwhile.
The background picture is of the Peter Iredale wreck found on the beach in Hammond, Oregon. It was a four masted steel barque sailing vessel which ran aground in 1906 on its way to the Columbia River.
B.A Mealer is an author and a traveler. This is a person who refuses to grow up and get old.