How many times have you said “I wish the weekend would hurry and get here” or “I wish this day would be over” or “Only X days until my vacation”? I can’t even count the number of times I have said all three of those things. And I certainly can’t count the number of times I have checked my watch to see how close it was to some magical hour only to be disappointed when the minute hand had moved only slightly leaving me longing for whatever it was that was making me wish that time would move faster.
And then I often find myself, ironically, thinking that time is moving too fast. I wonder how it can even be possible that I have lived 4 decades. It feels, at times, as though I blinked and 40 years of life zoomed by me. It makes me sad. And regretful.
I have spent the last couple of years dissecting moments of time. And asking myself if I was present. And if I made each moment count. I wonder if those people in my life with whom I have shared my time have felt like I was being attentive and truly valuing them and our shared experience. Or was I anxiously watching the clock, waiting for what was coming next?
And you want to know the honest answer? The honest answer is that I wasn’t always present and I certainly wasn’t always attentive. And that means that there was no way that I was valuing shared experiences and the people in my life the way that I should have been. Many times I was distracted. Distracted by school. Work. My own set of worries. My own thoughts. I was selfish. And the worst part of it? I can’t change it. That time is gone. Those moments are over. I can’t get them back. It doesn’t matter how much I replay them in my mind or even apologize to those I can. The time is gone.
I inadvertently told people in my life, countless times, that they weren’t important. That they weren’t valued. That the time we were together wasn’t as good as the next thing I was waiting to experience. It makes me sick. It makes me sick because, in my heart, it wasn’t true. But I can’t change it now. The time is gone.
I look back on the years P and I shared. And I know I was selfish. After dissecting so many moments over all of the years, it’s safe to say that I inadvertently told him he wasn’t important. I could give you example after example of times I did this to him, but I will spare you. And it doesn’t even matter. But it happened. And that hurts. Maybe it wouldn’t have changed the course of our marriage. Maybe it would have. I’ll never know. In my heart, though, I know it hurt him because, looking back, he tried to tell me he didn’t feel valued. I just wasn’t listening. And if I did that to him, one of the most important people in my life, the person I loved with every ounce of my being, who else did I do it to? Madelyn? My siblings? My parents? My friends? I know he wasn’t the only one.
I can’t get back the time that I wished away or the time that I spent not being present with people I love. The time is gone. I can’t turn back the clock no matter how much I wish that I could. And God, do I wish I could.
What I can do is be in the moment with the people in my life. I can listen. And connect. I can put away my phone and focus on what we are sharing together. I can treat each moment like it’s the moment. Because you know what? It might just be the moment. We have no way of knowing the power of any given moment. Or what each moment is capable of holding.
Are you willing to risk missing something amazing in this moment because you are too focused on the next moment? Want my advice? Enjoy THIS moment because you are only guaranteed this one. This one moment in time. You might not get the next one. Believe me. I learned that the hard way.