We have forgotten. We have forgotten that you need letters to make up words, words to make up sentences, sentences and pages to make up chapters. We want to finish the book all at once, and we don’t realize how vital each of these small parts is to the whole.
We want so much for our lives. We want a career we love. We want to see the world. We want to marry the love of our lives.
Many of these things will happen throughout our lifetime. What we have forgotten is that it won’t, and shouldn’t, happen all at once. In wanting all of it at once, we miss out on the things that happen on the way. We miss out on all the words and sentences and pages that make up our book.
I was anxious about the future, just wanting to make sure everything would happen the way I wanted it to, that what I was working toward would come true. These thoughts, worries, anxieties started filling up my everyday.
Things had happened all at once – I lost my boyfriend, my job fell through, and my parents got divorced. I worried about the future and missed all the beautiful moments that passed me by.
I wanted so many things (the job, the travels, the love life) to fall into place immediately so I could feel like my life was good and worthwhile again.
And finally I realized that I was missing everything. Life is not about the major events. It’s not. Just like a book is not solely about the climax. It’s the beautiful words strung together to make sentences full of meaning. It’s the beginning and end of chapters and pages that make you laugh, cry, and smile.
I don’t want to miss my moments, my hours, my days. I don’t want to only pay attention to the “big” things that will happen to me.
I started a project for myself. I have this pretty vase, and I decided that every time I do something good for myself or for someone else, or I see something beautiful or spend a moment that I don’t want to forget, I write it down on a small slip of paper, fold it in half, and put it in the vase. After 365 days, one year, I’m going to empty the vase and open those slips of paper and read them all.
I started this on a random day in November, and so even though I’m nowhere near being done with my project, I can tell you that it has made something click that never has before. I’m writing things down on these pieces of paper that I never would have even noticed before.
Took a bubble bath and made a homemade chocolate face mask? Write that down (happily). Paid for someone behind me at the drive through? Write that down! Made time to mediate today, or volunteer somewhere? Into the vase it goes.
Stowing these away is like a bunch of little rewards while being able to relive small, beautiful moments that I never paid attention to before. I’m not missing the words, sentences, and pages of my story anymore. I’m here for all of it. With my little project, I even get to experience it twice.
You could try out a project like mine. Or just be more aware of how you may skip over the little things in life while racing to the big things. It makes a difference in your life. I’m more peaceful, more grateful. I realize I don’t have to find some huge purpose in life to be worthwhile.
I can tell people who ask what I am going to school for. I can tell them who I’ve loved, and where I’ve traveled. Those events are easy to explain to people.
What I can’t explain to them is how beautiful it is to make a cup of hot cocoa and sit with my puppy by the window and feel the sun on my face. How it makes me cry when I’m feeling down and someone is kind to me. How certain smells and sounds take me back to days I thought I’d never have again. How the snow makes everything seem so quiet and I love that, and how I’m not afraid to be completely myself anymore.
These are the things I never want to miss. These are the small things, my own words and sentences, that could be so easily overlooked in the scheme of my whole story, and yet are some of the most beautiful and most important things in my life. Don’t miss these, either.
I’m using an empty vase. Just an empty vase and some small slips of paper, and already I feel like my time here has been more worthwhile than it ever has.