I’m becoming obsessed with moments. For instance, two nights ago it was my friends birthday. We all went out to dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. Yeah, a vegetarian at a steakhouse. I walked into the belly of beast and came away unscathed. While we were all hanging out I was watching my friends and trying to take away the most out of the moment. Pretty soon I’ll be married. A few of them are in serious relationships too. These moments aren’t guaranteed. They’re fleeting. I feel I need to take full advantage of them.
A friend of mine that had not heard about my blog was also there. He wanted to read a post and I sat across from him while he did. That’s another moment I really enjoy. Watching people read a post of mine. I like to watch the look on their faces as they read. Are they entertained? Do they agree with my thoughts? I like to see the affect my writing has on them.
The past few days have been great. Yesterday, I went to a surprise congratulatory party for a friend of mine from high school. He accomplished a life long goal. He recently graduated from the Police Academy. He will be a policeman next week. As long as I can remember he has had this dream. Worked towards it for a long time. He would tell me about this goal. He was ahead of me in that regard. In high school, I had absolutely no idea what I really wanted. In fact, I didn’t know what I wanted to do even after university. It’s just been the last year or so, after reading books, that I’ve started to write out goals for myself. He had this goal early on. He never strayed from it. He knew what he wanted, did what he needed to do and accomplished his dream. I’m very proud of him. I don’t know how they’re going to let him have a gun, but I’m still proud.
I admire his work ethic. He had a long term vision of himself and did everything according to that plan. He volunteered often. As nice as he is, he did it because he knew how important that was to become a police officer. He became a security guard at a mall at one point. Again, this was to build up his resume to be able to experience this moment. Gary Vaynerchuk says he can work through the day to day grind easily because he has a long-term vision for himself. He can do the things that seem hard to other people because of the vision he set out for himself. The minute, unimportant, time-consuming, annoying tasks become easier when I have a vision for yourself. I understand why I’m doing these things. I see the light at the end of the tunnel (cliché).
While I was at the party, I had a chance to catch up with my other friends. I hadn’t seen them for a few months now. I learned one of them decided to go back to school. He already graduated from university but decided to do a mechanical electrician program because he understands the need for those types of jobs. I’m proud of him too. I think he and I are very similar, in that, we both didn’t know what we wanted coming out of high school. We simply went into a university program. Now that we are both older we understand how things work. The Canadian job market doesn’t give you a job if you have a university degree. You will have an easier time with a skilled trade profession. I’m happy for him. I know he’ll do well.
The last big piece of news I received yesterday was from another dear friend of mine from high school. He told me his wife is expecting. I couldn’t be happier for him. He will be a great father. I’m not just saying that. The reason I think he will be a great father is because he is the eldest out of 6 siblings. In many ways he taught me a lot about responsibility.
One day in high school, the principal announced our school, at the time, was one of, if not, the most diverse high school in Ontario. Basically a bunch of immigrants and refugee kids in Canada all in the same school. I had friends from Sudan, Brazil, Vietnam, Somalia, Albania, Kosovo, China, Afghanistan, and even Canada. We all had struggles that were similar to any high school kid. Trying to fit into a crowd. You didn’t dare to be too different. However, the main difference in our school was we were all different. We all came from different backgrounds. The only thing we had in similarity with one another was the fact that we all came from different backgrounds. We were all facing the challenge of being a translator for our parents when we went home. We all knew, all too well, what immigration forms looked like. How we help fill them out. As refugees, we knew of the possibility of losing our court hearing and being deported back to our countries. As kids we had these responsibilities. A few times people we knew in the school were deported. We all talked about it. Now that I hear about my other friends’ experiences I understand how unnatural this was for high school students.
The reason for my digression is because of my friend that will be a father soon. We all had to deal with the things above. The thing with him is, in addition to all of this, he was extremely responsible when it came to his siblings. His mom and dad worked long hours. It’s not easy to support 6 kids as a refugee without proper grasp of the English language. He played on the basketball and volleyball teams with us. Oftentimes we would go out but he went home to feed his youngest brother or take his other brother to the library. He started to work before any of us. He helped his family financially when we were still worrying about unimportant things. As I grew closer to him, I understood the responsibility he had and his maturity. I think as our friend group understood the sacrifices he was making for his younger siblings we all became more mature. That’s why, yesterday when I heard he’ll be a father, I was extremely happy for him. I know he will be a great dad because he already has practice from taking care of his siblings.
To conclude, I have some simple advice. Enjoy the small moments. I could leave it at that but I know one of my friends would get on me to be more specific about it so I’ll try.
As we were headed to the restaurant the other day we were walking through downtown Toronto. It’s an incredible energy in the city on Friday night. I took a second to simply remind myself where I am and who I’m with to embrace the moment. I think oftentimes, especially in the face paced world we live in, we don’t stop to appreciate the small, enjoyable moments. This doesn’t have to be when you’re going out with your friends or family. It could even be in a moment where you are working on a project. Take that half a second to appreciate where you are, what you are doing, why you are doing it. Try to capture that moment as a positive instance because in the future you may look back on it and remember “The good old days”, see Option 2.
Another way to do this is to write in a journal. Nearly every morning I write in my journal about my experiences, doubts, fears, ambitions, troubles, anxieties, goals. Sometimes I’ll write at night as well about my day. Simply jot down a few great things that happened that day. It grounds me. I get to appreciate those small things. In Tools of Titans Tim Ferris mentions a mason jar full of small notes. Basically, every night he will write one amazing thing that happened to him that day. Then in a month the jar is full and he will read them back. I still haven’t started this practice but I encourage you to do it. I will start it at some point too.
Life rushes by us very quickly. Taking time to appreciate the small moments is the equivalent of hitting the brakes on life. Pausing to acknowledge the moments allows me to experience it in more detail. I feel as though I get more out of that moment. Do it today. It could be something very small like realizing you need your charger and looking around to see you’re within arms distance of it so you can plug it in without getting up. That happened to me just now so it was an easy example. Take the time today to appreciate one moment.
Work towards happiness.
If any of you take the time to do the exercise, I would love to hear about your experience with it. Comment below, private message me on social media or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear what moment you paused on.