It seems that I learn more from the truly mundane, vaguely boring but necessary parts of my life than I do from the big marquee moments. The big marquee moments, weddings, births, even deaths, certainly teach us enormous amounts. I have never appreciated life more than when I watched my grandmother take her last breath. However, I learn more about marriage on a sleepy, itchy, Monday morning than I would in a month of weddings and celebrations.
We have high expectations for the marquee moments. We have planned them. We have thought about what it will feel like when we are actually in them. Most of these milestone moments for me have been like out of body experiences. I have been so busy having them and wanting not to miss a moment of them that the experience becomes one that is a memory as it unfolds.
Moving is a marquee moment, you remember the dates of various decisions, the day you left one place and arrived in another. I have always loved saying my new address over and over in my head. Eventually the new address isn’t new anymore and the habit of repeating it falls away. The day we drive away from our current house is one I will remember, I will be cataloging what it feels like to drive away from our sweet house filled with so many memories. I can picture this experience, it’s a marquee moment.
What I didn’t picture or understand would be how much I am learning as I pack us up. The literal packing unearths all sorts of treasures. Those kitchen scissors that disappeared years ago had apparently staked out new real estate at the back of the tool closet. Then there is the figurative packing up, the winding down of my job and volunteer commitments, returning the various rented instruments and sports equipment. I am saying lots of good-byes in my head to people who I see fairly often but don’t really know. The nice girl at the UPS store, the people that work at the grocery store. Every time I see them, I wonder if this will be the last time. The result is that I smile at them more and make better eye contact.
I am having this sensation at the yoga studio as well. Each class I teach brings me closer to the very last one. I am finding myself more awake to the details of the room and the experience, knowing that it is finite; my sense that it is something to cherish has increased. I am finding myself less likely to see the flaws in things and more likely to accept them as they are. Knowing that some of these relationships and experiences are ending seems to allow me to just accept them.
I like how it feels to take a little more time to appreciate the details of my life. I like how it feels to not get super wound up about the outcome of various relationships and projects. I like how it feels to be aware that I should pay attention and notice because none of this is going to last forever.
The truth is, that even if we never move again, none of this would last forever. I am hoping that when we arrive in our new house and new life that I am able to maintain this greater appreciation for the smaller moments where life actually lives. I am hoping that when my new address stops being thrilling that I can maintain wonder and appreciation for the ordinary moments.