The Secret That Life Is Hiding From You Right Now

Image: @eandmbambrick

You’re driving home from work, it’s getting dark and you’re overwhelmed from the business of the day. In hopes to switch your brain off and just relax, you turn the radio on, when a familiar tune soothingly fills the car. Suddenly, it’s as if every triggered sense works together to bring you back into those nostalgic moments that once were your whole world. It feels so real, as if you’re there again, reliving everything. You see your then best friend sitting on a log by the campfire at the back of your house, you smell the roasting s’mores, feel the warmth of the welcoming fire, and feel the unexplainable sense of happiness burning inside your heart. Your mind scrambles to fill in the seemingly insignificant details that in its own way contributed to that fond night. You must’ve been about 16 or 17. It was a late fall evening and your best friend was sleeping over at your house that night.

Ah yes, finally, your mind stumbles across why the song on the radio brought this distant gem. Your friend had brought an old guitar, and was softly strumming what was then the hit of the time — this song.

You get a knot in your throat just thinking about it. Things have changed a lot since then, and life doesn’t seem quite as wonderful. Or maybe you’re just too busy working life out. College came, and you had to say goodbye to your best friend, knowing that your lives were taking you in very different directions. Your aunt, who you’ve always been very close to, just passed away, and you’ve been struggling to deal with that. You just started work this month when given an amazing job opportunity, but your boss doesn’t seem to be impressed with you. The list goes on as you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. I know the feeling, I can feel that knot… Because that’s my story. That’s YOUR story. I think it’s safe to say that in some point in every human’s life, we’ve experienced that deep longing — nostalgia — to relive the past. It can be tempting to think that it was a better place than what today offers.

But then it hits you… there was nothing absolutely “special” about those moments by the campfire at the time. You were just living your “regular” life, whatever that meant to you then. Why does it stand out so significantly to you now? You start thinking back to that same night with your old best friend, and realize that there was plenty that could have discouraged you from having a good evening. It was freezing outside, the first few marshmallows burst into flames, and your friend had to leave super early the next morning to go to a family gathering he didn’t feel like attending.

You shake your head as you’re forced to slow down to a car swerving into your lane. But the present doesn’t seem that dreary anymore. It’s as if your mind is starting to grasp a new perspective… What if, right now, every moment seems normal — even boring — until you look back someday, and you find that this very moment was just as special as the night when you sat by that fire. Something that no other place and time can fulfill.

Living in the moment isn’t always easy. But at the end of the day, it’s all that we really have. Memories are funny things, they tempt us to only notice them once they are part of the past… but what we don’t realize is that the moment we’re living in right now will someday be a treasured memory.

What if we start putting as much energy on living in the present as we do on living in the past? What if we start approaching our current situations with the knowledge that even the bad moments today have significance? Sure, we cannot always control our circumstances, but there’s something beautiful about appreciating the bad moments just as equally as the good moments in your life. It’s what shapes you and grows you into the person you want — and need — to become. It’s what makes the good moments worth it. By controlling our perspective, thoughts, and feelings about the present, we have the ability to mold it into becoming even better than it would’ve been if it just developed on its own.

And the strange thing is, in the end, our finite minds don’t remember all the bad details. It remembers the unexplainable sense of happiness that burnt inside your heart, because no other place and time could fulfill what that very moment offered.