There are moments.
Moments where we seem to stop, frozen in space and time while the world spins around us.
Moments of extreme clarity, where we see the things we have to do, need to do. Where all the ‘stuff’ and the busy-ness and the everyday bullshit gets pushed aside and we see what Matters.
We’ve all felt them.
Often these moments follow tragedy, a crisis of sorts at a personal or national scale.
With no time to waste, tomorrow ceases to be an annoying given, and instead becomes a realm of burning possibility. Because we know that everything can change, in a moment.
We’ll change our careers, do something that matters. We’ll stop making pointless small talk, and talk instead about Things That Matter. We’ll hug our friends, long and often. We’ll wake up early, see more sunrises, read more books, stare out the window and marvel at the luck we have to be alive on such a day. We’ll start that creative project, let go of something we’ve outgrown. Move to that city, pursue that long-held dream. Defy expectations, care less about what others think, if it means finding ourselves.
In the moment it feels urgent, imperative, necessary. Essential. We cannot imagine a life lived otherwise. And yet, a day goes by, then two, then a week and we start thinking that maybe our lives aren’t so bad just as they are. They’re certainly comfortable and familiar and besides, it would take far too much effort to change. And, anyway, isn’t contentment about learning to be happy with what you already have? The grass isn’t always greener, we tell ourselves.
And so we forget about the moment. We go back to counting down our days in minutes and hours. Dividing the time between sunrise and sundown into carefully controlled meeting blocks of time.
Into not-another-Mondays and hump-day Wednesdays, thank-God-it’s-Fridays and the-freakin-weekend.
We adjust our expectations based on the time of day, or day of the week.
‘It’s only Monday,’ we say, when our colleagues suggest an after-work beer. ‘Nah, I can’t come for a run it’s SUNDAY.’ ‘Breakfast before work, are you crazy?’
We limit the window of possibility.
Instead of moments, we have deadlines, and milestones and bedtimes.
But I am somebody who believes that extra-ordinary things can happy before 9am on a Monday. That incredible evenings can be had on Sunday nights and that life-altering revelations can occur at the most unlikely of times.
T.S Eliot put it well:
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons
Someone once said: Don’t let a crisis go to waste.
And so: How will you be different? What will you hold on to, or refuse to stand for? How will this thing change you? Will you measure the rest of your days out in coffee spoons? In showers taken, or hours spent in front of the TV? In Facebook friends or dollars earnt? In times you were sensible, and reasonable and staid? The days you did the safe thing, the easy thing, the decent thing?
Or will you grasp those moments with two hands and let them move you closer to who you could be?