(It's been a crazy week that's gone by! Then again, that's just the way I like it. Unless it's doing nothing with good friends. :) I was supposed to post this yesterday but life got in the way, so here it is today. I'm keeping the title for this series in my attempt to be a more organized blogger - even though, I know, it's not Sunday anymore.)
They say it’s moments in your life that shape you. I was thinking the other day about a question I discussed with some other friends.
"If you could freeze a moment from your life, what would it be?"
Wow. What a question. I hardly knew where to start, but once I started thinking about it, it was hard to stop.
- Childhood games (eg. catching, hide and seek in the dark)
- Going to a furniture warehouse and marveling at how vast the halls filled with brand-new furniture were
- Mom’s homemade shortcrust pastry chicken pie at Christmas
- Playing 'Toy Story' with my brothers and dad (ie. One of us acts as ‘Andy’, and goes out of the room, while the rest of us go bananas in the room and has to freeze the moment ‘Andy’ walks back in)
- Watching Christmas cartoons in PJs on Christmas morning
- Power failures, which meant sleeping on the tile floor (because it was cooler) in the living room and playing with torchlights and candles
- Sleepovers that involved baking and nail polish and exercising in the middle of the night and handmade crafts
- Daytona racing
- Kaya toast after school and debates about God and life in a mamak along Old Klang Road
- Staying up all night on New Year’s eve to go to church in a stadium and eat KFC
- My tall, lanky youngest brother being a small, round, chubby baby I could carry around again
- Croissants, pain au chocolat, and café noir with Mabel on an early Saturday morning in Paris
- Tiger crawling on top of me to snuggle his furry head into my neck
- Baking comfort food late into the night in a spacious, quiet kitchen on cold, wintery nights
- Opening the Starbucks store I worked at in the morning; grinding the first batch of espresso beans for the day, and flipping on the music player to pipe jazz through the store as the scent of coffee wafts through the air
- Watching the sea in Kota Kinabalu at night on an assignment to write a travel piece for a magazine I was working at
- Phở, Pharmacie, and sharing meals and comfortable conversation with someone who enjoys taking it as slowly as I do
- Falling asleep in a hammock to the sound of waves on hot and lazy afternoon in Redang
- Sitting in a cold train station in Edinburgh as staff from a café closed shop and handed out unsold sandwiches to weary travellers on a late, cold, New Year’s eve
- Train stations and airports; people coming and going
And as I mentally list these moments a pattern begins to emerge. I begin to realize what really matters to me.
It’s not the achievements or the big things I wish I could relive.
Not graduating, not overcoming certain phobias, not awesome camps or concerts or events I got to attend, not performing in front of people, not achieving certain grades. It’s the little things that mean the most.
The privilege of time, to do the things you really love. The people you really care about. Silence, solitude, and being at peace with yourself. The gift of rest. The experience of sensory pleasure. The ability to experience and observe new, unfamiliar things.
This is what matters. This is what we can experience on a daily basis. Even with the most seemingly mundane routines it’s possible to carve out space for these things.
I’m a big minimalist and purist, and I believe in quality, not quantity. I believe seeking more entertainment or distractions won’t give us the meaning we crave or make boredom or discomfort pass away quicker.
But I do believe things like a walk, a good cup of coffee, a smile, a hug, listening to a bird chirp, a sunset, and, especially in a city like KL, a good ten minutes of silence – as miniscule as they may seem in our over-cluttered days, they keep us centered on what’s truly important – the kind of moments we’ll look back and want to relive.
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, ... grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. -Henry Van Dyke