Friday, May 8, 2009

A Moment Please

I know folks who always seem to be celebrating some important moment in their lives. They deliberately set aside time to acknowledge graduations, promotions, major accomplishments, etc. However, in my life I have purposefully never made time to celebrate anything. Somehow I was always too busy, always moving toward the next challenge or goal. I had just completed my last final exam as an undergraduate, and within an hour, I was off to graduate school. By the next day I was already working on an experiment as a graduate student. When I passed my Ph.D. defense, I spent the next week preparing a publication based on this work. When I got my big university job offer, the news stirred no special activity. My tenure appointment received no notice at home, just more of the same. Sure there were always reasons not to make time, to make excuses, to let another moment in life slip by without celebration, without hoopla. In the moment, it did not seem like I was missing out on anything. However, as I get older, I look back with more than a little regret. Why did I not take the time to celebrate life and the big moments on the journey? As I was preparing to write this blog, I stumbled upon an obvious explanation that now makes a great deal of sense to me. I was afflicted with pride. I did not want anyone to think the big milestone moments in my life were viewed as any sort of big deal. Totally expected, totally in line with expectations. My big job offer was expected given how smart and bright and special I claimed to be. My promotion was a slam dunk. If I acted too excited, people might think that I was worried in some way about the outcome. This is pride pure and simple. I was trying to act calm and cool and unaffected, and I let all of the big moments slip by. Along the way I have missed out on celebration, on making memories, on living life. So, don't fall into this trap. Take a moment. Live, love, and celebrate with the special people in your life. Don't let regret have any opportunity to take root on this very brief journey.