If all great things are done by a series of small things put together, then great lives are created by a series of small moments put together, most of which we miss out on because we’re writing the synopsis rather than the paragraphs of the chapters.
It’s as though we live to write our eulogies. We get degrees and spouses and desire storylines and unfolding fates that make sense and flow well and ultimately write beautiful and admirable stories, but only ones that we will ever tell ourselves. We’re never actually remembered for more than who we were and who we loved and how we lived in a moment-to-moment sense. The rest — the big, overarching, milestone-kind-of-things don’t matter, and maybe they never did.
We miss the moments because we’re distracted. Distracted by the one person we search for in a crowd, fearing they’re there, even when they’re hours and states and other impossibilities away. By the someone who is always on our minds when we’re writing or creating or choosing or riding the train or falling asleep — and we behave as though they are with us, and narrate our lives by what they’d say and feel and think if they were with us, though we know we’d never know that.
There’s always one daunting task, always one to-do list that fails to include anything surrounding what we actually want to do. Not for work, not for the credit, not out of responsibility, but just because we want to be happy. Always one more promotion, one more move, one more great love to find before we can be happy.
But we aren’t. We don’t choose. We don’t think we deserve it. We keep searching, and we keep narrating, and we keep living as though we have a tomorrow to live out all these grand fantasies and promises to ourselves when the reality is that unless we stop today we’ll live forever on the promise of tomorrow. These are daydreams. They’re visions and hopes and issues that don’t exist. The minute you start thinking of the past or future realize that it’s only a thought of a thing, a thought that’s happening in a now. A now that we’re missing.
Tomorrow never changes us. Our jobs never change us. Our relationships don’t, either. Our problems change as the things in our lives do. The issues we take are reflections of what’s wrong with us, the people we hate reflections of our insecurities. No matter how many things come and go, we take the same issues, and hate the same people for the same reasons, and never stop to realize that it’s not them that we hate, it’s the parts of us they force us to recognize.
You have to stop living for how other people will remember you. Stop living by telling yourself the story that you think other people will be happy reading. Because it’s an empty and lifeless one, and it robs you of the thing you’re most seeking when you do it. The most important thing is that you do what makes you happy — and that you understand that your happiness is your choice, and your responsibility alone. It is not a day or a job or a relationship or a change away, it’s right now. The only work to do is to remove the blocks that prevent you from living it out. The only change that has to happen is to you.
The untold millions of little moments are what matter. It’s not about having a job, it’s about having a life that you want to live. It’s not about having a degree, it’s about the nights you finally felt the opposite of loneliness. It’s not about having a relationship, it’s about being in one, and it’s not about living a life that other people can sum up comfortably, it’s about having a life wherein those millions of moments build and corroborate with one another — and you follow them — and have more. You won’t be there to hear the stories and eulogies they tell of you — you’re only here to know them now.