By Tim Hayes
People too often make the mistake of trying to record or remember only the big stuff. Graduations, weddings, vacations – these images get stuffed into photo albums and dominate iPhone directories. And I plead just as guilty as anybody else on this score.
Yet, while those major life events do represent some great mile-markers to treasure, it may be that those lesser, everyday fleeting moments, when someone tells a great joke, or reaches out unexpectedly to hold your hand, or gets you up and dancing for no reason – the ones when you’re having too much fun to think of grabbing a camera – that truly mean the most.
Many years ago, I found myself in charge of our three kids while my wife was out one Saturday morning. The kids ranged in age from probably three to eight. Still little enough to want to hang around with Dad, in other words.
We had finished breakfast, and I had a favorite CD in the player, volume down pretty low, just for background music. Steely Dan’s greatest hits. We lived in a small Cape Cod house back then, three kids, two parents, and a dog, so space remained sort of tight. But nobody seemed to mind – which worked to our advantage in what happened next.
The song “My Old School” came on, an all-time favorite of mine. So I cranked up the volume, bounded out of my seat at the dining room table, ran into the living room and started dancing. Just flat-out, goofy-fool, who-cares-who’s-looking dancing.
Well, my three young charges thought this was so hysterical that they did the same thing, leaping from their chairs to join the fun. All four of us dancing, laughing, having just the greatest time together. Even the dog got into the act. Both ridiculous and sublime.
Unmitigated, unbounded, untrammeled joy. No pictures, no official record exists of these five minutes of absolute bliss with my kids, other than the memory of it in my head. But remember it, I do. And it makes me really happy all over again each time I think of it.
You go to work every day, and it can wear you down. Too much month left at the end of your money. Life throws you curve balls. Life doesn’t always play fair. And what’s up with these presidential candidates, anyway? Sometimes it feels like it would be so much easier to just resign yourself to drudgery, negativity, and hopelessness, wouldn’t it?
But here’s some free and unsolicited advice – don’t give in to those temptations. Sure, everybody’s life has some parts that suck, but it’s not every single part of your life, bearing down on you every single day, with absolutely no possibility of relief, right?
Even if you have to swim back in time to reclaim a wonderful, happy moment of pure joy, do it! They’re in there, bobbing around in your subconscious, waiting to be plucked out and plopped right in the front of your mind again. And when new ones occur, make a point of logging them in your brain for retrieval years down the road, when you may need a positive pick-me-up.
On that silly, miraculous morning, I didn’t know or care what the lyrics of “My Old School” actually described. I still don’t. All I know is that it’s a great song to dance to – especially when you’re with your little ones, jumping around the living room together, in fun, in joy, in love.
Copyright 2016 Transverse Park Productions LLC and Tim Hayes Consulting