When you think about your life and tell your story, it is likely made up of a series of events or milestones.
- I was born in…
- I grew up in….
- I went to school at….
- I majored in…
- I worked for…
- I bought a house and lived….
- I had four kids…
For research, I took a look at the obituary section of the New York times last Sunday. I wanted to know how people define their lives. Most went on forever about accomplishments and said nothing about who the person really was.
- His distinguished career in media and advertising started in New York.
- He was born in Des Moines and earned his B.S. in Business from the University of Iowa.
- As a Material Scientist for Uniroyal, he developed many patents for the company.
- He was president of the South Florida Builders association and served on numerous community organizations.
- She was a member of the Palm Beach Country Club.
- He became an accountant after the war and retired as a high school teacher.
While there were mentions of missing their passion for life, and never forgetting a smile, the majority of focus was on place of birth place, education, and work.
It made me think about what defines our lives. I recognize that big events contribute, but we cannot live our lives to build our resumes, or write our obituaries. We cannot let our milestones overshadow the moments that come between them.
my moments in between
- drawing a line in the car so my sister wouldn’t bother me on our long family rides from CT to FL
- riding the loop coaster even though my mom told me not to
- dancing the night away with my dad, Jerry Garcia and deadheads from around the world.
- afternoons at Filene’s basement in Boston with my mom.
- dinner in a candle lit monastery in Copenhagen with the love of my life.
- skiing out of Tuckerman’s Ravine tired, scared, in love and having the time of my life.
- Canadian Jays eating out of my hand on Mt. Jefferson.
- surprising my best friend for her 40th birthday in New Orleans after not seeing each other for 5 years.
- saying goodbye to my sister every time she goes home, halfway around the world, and realizing how much I love her
- tucking my daughter in each night and waiting for her to say “you’re mine” after I said, “you are my best girl”
Getting a degree, landing a job, relocating and buying a home are all big events in my life, but none compare to the above.
I only found one obituary with fewer than 30 words, and it spoke volumes:
Mildred, Aunt, Sis, sparkling smile,
a love for Manhattans and Monet, a fundamental honesty.
Have you ever heard a 101 year old giggle?
Her family misses her dearly.
I think that Mildred was deeply loving and deeply loved. I think she probably understood that it is the moments between our accomplishments that define our lives. Congratulations on your community memberships, prestigious degrees, and hometowns. Be proud of those things, but remember what makes your heart race. Remember what makes your eyes light up. Remember what makes a 101 year old giggle.
Now, go do that.
What are some of your moments in between?