It’s a Friday night and I’m all alone for the first time in over two years. It’s just me, a glass (er four or five) of red wine, and Norah Jones and Colbie Caillat playing in the background on a blustery cool Fall night in Chula Vista, California.
I’ve done quite a bit of writing in my day and never have I felt like I have so much to say, but not sure how to put it all together. It’s hard not to be reflective on a night like tonight – a brisk fall evening, Halloween, October 31, 2014.
A week ago, I found out that I had lost my very best friend. Her name was Callie and we were inseparable for two and half years. For over two years, she followed me everywhere, kept me company no matter where I sat or laid my head. For over two years, she greeted me with the same over-enthusiasm every time I walked into the house. For over two years, she never judged me; she only loved me. For over two years, I enjoyed every minute I spent with her. The bond we shared is one that can’t be described in words. When she looked at me, I felt like she looked right through me and accepted every part of me – flaws and all.
For me, life isn’t about being busy every second of every day. For me, life is fleeting faster than I can keep up with and the days are numbered before I have a chance to catch my breath. For me, each and every single breath is a gift and a joy and I find the greatest contentment in nights just like this one where I feel I can be quiet with my thoughts and let the time linger like a long musical note or a leaf that is carried away by a light breeze, dancing softly in the air – never touching the ground for miles.
For me, if you don’t take it in now, there may not be a chance to tomorrow. It makes me miss the ones I love even more. One day I had my best friend and together we made every seemingly mundane moment in life – from making dinner, getting the mail, doing laundry, or watching TV into special memories and meaningful moments in my life that I hope to never ever forget. My heart aches, because I knew in those moments that it wouldn’t always be forever – but I, of course, couldn’t know they would be far fewer than I could have ever imagined.
I remember one of my most favorite ways to spend our time was around dusk. The sun would hang heavy in the sky preparing its descent for the day. This is when we both most wanted to be outside and be part of the end of the day. So, together we would walk seven minutes to the park at the end of my street both hoping that no one was using it for soccer practice or other recreation. Even though she normally had amazing manners, she simply could never contain her excitement when we headed in that direction with a recycled blue tote hanging off my left shoulder as we went, holding just her most favorite toy in the entire universe, a water bottle and bowl. So she’d pull me the entire way and when we rounded the corner and I let her off her leash, how I loved seeing her sprint ahead trying to run faster than her legs would allow her to run. Twenty feet ahead of me she would come to a stop, look back at me with just the biggest smile on her face and continue down to the grassy field waiting ever so impatiently for me to catch up. And once there, time stopped and we lived. I threw her Frisbee and she’d run her heart out to catch it again and again and again.
Something so simple – and yet – it was one of my most favorite ways to spend time. I loved every second of throwing that damn Frisbee, because it was exactly where I wanted to be, with exactly who I wanted to be with – pure innocence and happiness.
I may not remember that meeting I had where I really killed it or the moment when I reached over 1,000 Twitter followers or suffering in an hour of traffic…. But I will remember the sun setting to the west over the trees with the sound of light wind whistling through the leaves and the sight of my best friend running after her Frisbee and bringing it back to me to throw again. I’ll never forget how it felt to enjoy her company and be able to make her day better just by taking her to a grassy field at the end of my street to chase her flying Frisbee. I’ll never forget why that was so important to me and how much better she made me feel after a stressful day of living in this world we share with violence, mean people, war, and disease.
For me, if you don’t take it in now, there may not be a chance to tomorrow. Time is the most valuable commodity and the one thing we cannot get back or multiply. My husband and I took a vacation for two weeks to celebrate my thirtieth birthday with family in one of the happiest places on Earth. What a great vacation we had making very special memories with my sister, her husband, and three children. But we didn’t know that when we left for vacation that would be the last time we would ever see Callie. Life never promised to be fair. You can’t know these things and God knows how much it hurts to know that there is no more time. Those moments you cherish so much can only now be cherished – never lived again. But I think that the point isn’t that I don’t have any more time, it’s that I would never have enough time – so did I make the most of the time that I did have?
This is the question that hangs heavy on my heart in my grief, and one that is always there even when I choose to ignore it. With my beloved pet, I know that I took no moments for granted. For me, I think that time is so valuable, because that is exactly what is needed to enjoy great relationships. Is there anything better than spending time with the ones we love? Is there someone that you can’t wait to spend more time with, can’t wait to see again, someone you wish you had spent more time with?
For me, if you don’t take it in now, there may not be a chance to tomorrow. Culture is increasingly demanding on our time and there is so much pressure. But my wish for everyone is that despite all the demands on our time and cultural expectations that you really take in the moments that matter most to you. That we don’t lose sight of what brings us the greatest happiness in our life, no matter what that is, and focus on ways to make those moments happen more often rather than always putting them off, because something ‘more important’ had to happen. There is an end to everything and death escapes no one – and the tragedy is when we don’t slow down to savor the moments we have with ourselves and the relationships we love.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in my reflection thinking about the opportunities in my life to live more honestly, less apologetically, and without guarding myself. I spent a week dejected and unable to be anything else. If there is something good that comes from a tragic ending to a beautiful life, I hope it’s that I live my life more open and aware of how special each and every moment is. Even as I sit here, I feel the cool air enveloping me, the warm notes of a great red blend on my tongue, and the heavenly sound of perfection on my ears from the acoustics. I feel the safety of my secure home and the companionship of my memories of a best friend who should be laying at my feet as I type this ode to her and feel blessed.
I wish I had more time throwing that damn Frisbee on a grassy field at the end of my street in Chula Vista, California. What are your moments that you cherish?
May the sum of life’s moments equal a life to be rejoiced in remembering every day. This is not only my hope for myself, but for all of us.
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