by, Ruth Berry

“Experience” (n).

Something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through.

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Sunlight and warmth. Cold and sweet. Hard and pain. Calm and peace. Loud and joy. These words only have meaning because we have first-hand experience with them in the context of life. Words gain so much more meaning when they have been lived out. We look to so many things to give these words more meaning: vacation, quality time, a restaurant experience, games, movies, people in our lives, and so much more. Much of life is spent in pursuit of a future experience. Much of life is built on experiences of the past. The experiences we create now will live with us the rest of our lives.

It is regularly acknowledged that things are of little value in the grand scheme of life. Perspective renders the accumulation of material goods depreciable. We know this, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the things that really matter. Are you alive? Or are you only living? What is your focus on today? Is the routine overwhelming you? Or does your life underwhelm you; do you need a fresh start? When you take the 1,000-foot view, what are you struck by? I’m sure it isn’t an exaggeration to assume we all need to re-adjust our priorities, even by the smallest degree.

I guess that’s why such importance is placed upon the mantra “Collect moments and not things”. Because it can be easy to forget that time spent strolling the beach, looking for shells with a loved one is important. It can be easy to forget that rest is important too. How often do we need to remind ourselves that life is too short to waste in the pursuit of stuff? People, relationships, good times, even bad times, are more important, more tangible than anything else.

My hope is that by reading this, you will be re-affirmed in what you already know: Savor this. Savor this time, whatever it is, wherever you are. If it is the best time of your life, live it out, to its fullest extent. Don’t waste it by being distracted or pushing through to the future. If you can, close your eyes to better remember the moment. Remember what you can smell, see, touch, hear, and taste. Or maybe you’re living the worst time of your life, maybe it’s so hard that you don’t want to remember, and you just want to forget the pain. Don’t let yourself forget. Because you will get through it, all of us will, and when you’re on the other side, you can look back and say, “I made it through. I was strong, even though it was hard, and now I know I can make it through another hard time again”. Maybe you’re living in the middle, somewhere between the best and the worst, which people call ordinary. However, it is anything but, because in the ordinary, some of the best experiences are had. An unexpected phone call, a spontaneous trip, or a special moment over coffee are all waiting in the ordinary. Don’t miss your chance to savor this.