I’m getting older now. Too often I get word of friends retiring, of friends getting sick, of friends dying. I find myself more and more wondering about the path I have taken, daydreaming of other paths, wincing at bad decisions, romanticizing the more creditworthy moments.
Not much good comes of all that. There is, however, one thing that is worth noting. I am, more and more, stopping to appreciate the little things in life that, in earlier days, I would have scurried by. A sunset. The shy smile of a little child. The lapping of a flame around a log in the fireplace. I catch myself thinking of these things and wondering if it is the last time I will experience them. Is this the last time I will drive, or walk, this road, eat this dish, drink this beverage?
It took me a bit to make the next step, and I pass it on to you as a bit of elder wisdom. Whether or not it is the last time, I ought to appreciate it as if it were. I ought to measure my life, not by some distant goal, but by my immersion in what stands before me. The only sunset that ever mattered is the one I am seeing now, the only person the one who stand before me, the only meal, the only road, the only moment.
I will, of course, keep my regrets, rue my misdeeds, grieve my missed opportunities. Among them, though, is this relatively new one. I regret that I did not understand this when I was young. If you are young, don’t make the same mistake. If you are old, I’ll bet you already know all this.
Carpe diem. Carpe momentum, Carpe secundum.