I have had the opportunity to meet some remarkable people and enjoy some great moments in life. Doesn’t mean that there haven’t been rugged patches. But I have been fortunate.
A thought might be that I have been spoiled in life with grand experiences. Or maybe it’s that my rough experiences were nothing but some minor hiccups. But the reality is that I have fully emerged myself in the times I do have. When the good times roll around, big or small, I soak them in for all they are worth.
I became friends with a guy (lets call him Tank for his “girlish figure”) who possibly had some of the wildest stories I have ever heard. A moderate night for Tank is mostly like the wildest thing you and I have ever done. Tank said yes to practically anything which lead him to outcomes which were spectacular. I decided to share a story once with him but mid story I paused in my head realizing my story was as exciting as grandma’s night out on the town. My story crumbled (side note I wasn’t the best at telling stories then), but Tank was nice enough to give me a pity laugh.
I started struggling with the thought that maybe I am not living life to the fullest. You might ask yourself similar questions like “Do I do enough crazy things?” “Should I start saying yes to more things in my life?”. Part of our society runs on the idea of equating drunken nights with being fun or how much you have lived.
After rolling this around in my head I came to the realization that I don’t need to have the most “epic” experiences to have a great life. The greatest life is not based on how many experiences you’ve had, but the happiness you felt during those experiences. One of the greatest times I can remember is going to this local dive bar, that smelled like a concoction of cheap cologne and cigarettes, with a buddy where we played pool. My friend and I would go after a big test, eat peanuts and play pool to about 10 or 11. The wildest thing that ever happened was a friend of ours kept hitting the ball off the table almost every shot. But the time spent just bullshitting drinking cheap beer with my friend might by my favorite times in college. Someone else’s best experience does not have to be yours. If eating stale peanuts while playing pool at a dive bar is your favorite experience then treasure it; don’t shun it away.
In one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays an English teacher who aims to instill a love of poetry in his students.. Robin describes a underground poetry club that he is a part of in an extravagant way that pulls in the kids. Not yet understanding the concept of the club, one of his students questions this seemingly boring activity, asking “a bunch of guys sitting around reading poetry?” Williams’s character corrects his student by saying, “We didn’t just read poetry, we let it drip from our tongues like honey. Spirits soared, women swooned, and gods were created…”. The intensity brought a new light to what a just a poetry club can be.
Maybe if I had expressed my story with half the enthusiasm as Robin described the Dead Poets, Tank wouldn’t feel the need for the pity laugh. Decide how you want to look the present moment I recommend savoring every drop this life has to offer.
So right now I’m sitting at my favorite local coffee shop. But I’m not just sitting here. I am taking in the smell of fresh ground coffee swirling through the air. I watch as the day travelers breeze through as they order whatever delicious treats will help to get them through their journey, while others come here to land for a while. People share lessons of love and life over a perfectly crafted cappuccino. Listening to the melody of conversations slowly merge into one symphony that we call a coffee shop. And so, as I sit here quietly with my iced tea and a delicious homemade cookie with a smile, knowing that I will remember this as much more than just another day at the coffee shop.