Welcome to 2015 everyone! As we begin another year, filled with so much potential for change, growth, and discovery, I’d like to share a story with you. Something that stopped me cold, and made me reassess my life. As many of you know, my husband and I just moved across the country from sunny San Diego, to New York city…in winter. We took a road trip to get out here, and stopped at the Grand Canyon, which was breathtakingly beautiful, and the Carlsbad Caverns.
This story takes place at the Caverns. The largest cave in the western hemisphere in fact. I was a little bit of a stick in the mud when we first started our 756 foot decent into the cave. (I mean, after the Grand Canyon, a big cave was seaming like a little bit of a let down.) It was dark and cold, and none of my pictures were coming out, which always makes me sad (it’s all about the memories you know). But then we got farther down, and this cold dark cave opened up into a new world. Miles and miles of stalagmites and stalactites reaching for each other through this spansive, underground wonderland. I was completely taken by them.
As Brandon and I turned a corner, I saw in front of us this cute older couple. The wife had shoulder length–maybe was blonde–now white hair, and the man was balding with graying hair, though not completely white yet. The woman wore a white pant suit and her hair was done. She reminded me of my Mom, or maybe how I’ll look one day. The man had on slacks and a leather bomber type jacket. We made our way around them, in our usually I-live-in-a-bigger-city-than-you-do pace, and as we passed him, the man yelled out in joking tone, “don’t miss anything.” Don’t miss anything. The words stopped me, and my eyes began to fill up with tears. I couldn’t explain it.
These past few years there have been so many things; stress from work, deadlines, transition, loss of friends and family, so many things that have made me feel like I was under water in a way. It’s hard to explain, but the combination of them, the distraction of them, made it hard to be present. To feel present. and I do feel that there was so much that I missed. I was taken out of the moment by a stress, a worry, a sadness, and lost it forever. I lost my present. I missed it.
As we continued to explore this underground cave, the man’s three words echoed in the space…”Don’t miss anything” and I began to cry. Tears of joy and wonder at where we were, and how completely incredible this place was. Walking miles and miles of what looked like the ocean floor dried up, and put on display; and tears of sorrow, for all that I had missed. All that I had let slip by because I was somewhere else. Too worried about tomorrow’s dead line, too sad about who wasn’t there, too preocupied to give the proper import to the present moment. The moment I too would miss, looking back, and wish I had been able to live it just a little more fully.
So, I guess all I’m trying to say, to you, to that old man strolling the caverns with his wife, is thank you for the reminder. Thank you for asking me to slow down, and be present. Thank you for telling me not to miss anything. I’m going to do my best not to.
I don’t make resolutions, they are too easy to break, but I do set goals. Now I have a new one. To live in each moment as presently as I can. Phone away, eyes up, and pour into the people around me, while I still have them there. I’d love to have you join me.
Happy New Year!