In honor of the #TBT phenomenon, today I thought I'd dust off an article I wrote almost exactly seven years ago. It reads a lot clunkier than it might if I were to write it today, but such is the evolution of style and skill, and I've left it intact as it appeared then. Some of you might recognize it from my old blog - most of you probably won't, which is good. Hopefully more people see it this time around. But either way, whether you're coming at this with fresh eyes or completely new ones, I hope it stirs something inside you the way it did for me when I wrote it.
Tiny Perfect Moments
It's not all bad. I suspect at least some of my readers assume I think it is, the way I tend to carry on and cling to things that sometimes may seem insignificant to some. I do that, no question. When it comes to exposing and spreading the word about something I'm passionate about, I can be rather tenacious. And make no mistake, I have no intention of changing the things I'm too old and set in my ways to change. Nor do I think most of the things I take a closer look at on here are insignificant. But you know what they say about one man's treasure, so to those who think they are, I won't disagree. I'm pessimistic about a lot of things, and find a lot of things that most people seem to take in stride depressing to no end, but again, it's not all bad.
Even in the middle of the biggest problems, at our lowest points, we can still see thin cracks of light trying to seep through if we take the time to look for them. If you look back through time, and even in present day here and there, you will inevitably find stored away what I like to call tiny perfect moments. They don't happen often, which I suppose is part of what makes them so special. As often as not they are meaningless to everyone other than yourself, also contributing to the special factor. But for you, the perfect, unscripted, unexpected combination of things that stimulate the proper senses come together in just the right mix, creating forever a snapshot of a moment in time that makes you feel... nice. I know after all that buildup to call them simply "nice" doesn't quite seem to do them justice, but just let your mind settle one one of yours and I think you'll agree that to go any further with it than nice both tarnishes and falls short of describing the spirit of the moment.
The biggest problem with these small slices of happiness is the 'tiny' part. Invariably they are over almost before they occur, like a wonderful dream you can't quite get your head all the way back around when you wake from it. As such they tend to leave an unfinished, unsatisfying feeling when they're gone if you're not careful to keep them in context. They aren't intended to bring everlasting happiness; that's another kind of thing which not all of us ever encounter. In truth, to some extent it's the tiny part which makes them perfect in the first place. And herein lies the rub: to let them run their course and capture the essence in a sliver of time or to pursue them, potentially extending them beyond the moment but also risk doing irreparable damage? This too contributes to the rarity of these moments, because I think many of us don't recognize them for what they are at the time and in our eternal pursuit of happiness we stomp on them en route to an extended version that isn't there.
The ironic thing about this phenomenon is that they almost always involve another person who has no idea anything out of the ordinary is taking place. Yet other times, that someone else shares your moment while countless others around you are oblivious, either unable or unwilling (or maybe just disinterested) to grasp what's right under their noses. This is where the perfect part really comes into play. Neither of you saw it coming, and minutes after it occurs it's back to business as usual, but at that perfect time of day, with something special in the air, maybe partly because you know nobody else is paying any attention to you, with just the right amount of contact, subtle, light but firm, you see fireworks as your moment unfolds. Then the semi-dazed sense of slight disbelief as the exhiliration gradually dissipates and you think maybe something you won't soon forget has just taken place.
Hopefully while reading that last paragraph you were momentarily swept away to a time and place where only you have ever been allowed access, whether or not you were there alone. My advice, coming from someone a large portion of whose life has been a lot of self-inflicted headache and heartache sprinkled lightly with tiny perfect moments, is to endeavor to recognize and savor them when they happen to you. Keep them close, because during those aforementioned dark times such a pinpoint of light can be a pretty dazzling beacon.
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Photo credits: Biff Mitchell