Holding on to small moments: happiness is different than I thought it would be

Holding on to small moments: happiness is different than I thought it would be
Photo by Kevin Eddy, "Hunters Moon on the Bosque." Full moon coming up over the Sandia Mountains. Shot from just above the bosque, West of Bernalillo .Photo used with permission from a Creative Commons License.

Life is made up of so many little moments, sewn together with the repeated stitch of daily life. When I was little, about eight I think, I remember riding in the backseat of my parents’ car along Menaul Blvd. in Albuquerque, NM. In my childish way, I was thinking about the blur of these moments and wondering how I could hold onto them. I resolved then and there to remember that moment.

Out the window to my right I saw a ’68 or ’69 Mustang. It was red. To my left, past my brother’s window, I saw the alley between two cinderblock buildings. The day was sunny, but the alley was in dark shadow.

We were all there in the car that day, my mom and dad and my brother and I, but I don’t remember anything else about it. Where were we going? What did we talk about? I can’t even remember the time of year or time of day.

But I do remember the Mustang, the alley, and the willingness to hold onto memories of small moments, the ones that make up most of our lives.

One of those small moments that I treasure happened more than a decade later, again in Albuquerque. It was summer and I was home from college after my junior year. I realized that we needed milk, so I grabbed my purse and jumped in the car. It was sunny and hot. I was in shorts. I was training for a cross country bicycle ride at the time and was exhausted, in the best way.

It occurred to me on the way to the grocery store that I had, without thinking, jumped in the car with my own money to buy milk for my family. No one asked me to do it.

It was the first time I can remember feeling grown up, like a responsible person. It is a moment that I call to mind when I think about what it means to be happy and at peace.

The moment brought together the combination of doing something for others, however small that something was, and reflecting on it, taking notice of it. I remember looking around the car in that moment and thinking that happiness was different than I expected it to be.

Happiness is not a relentless pursuit or a goal to reach. It is an awareness of living and being and accepting and appreciating.

This post is part of the “This Blogger Life theme: … and that’s the day my life changed.”

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