I guess it’s appropriate that the last blogpost was entitled “focused on the finish line” because in many ways, I see this topic as a continuation. How do you stay focused on a destination, while at the same time fully awake to experiencing the emotions of the moment?
Last weekend I took my family up to Nashville where we hung out with good friends of ours, a couple that we’ve basically grown up together with. We lived in the same freshmen dorm (all of us), started dating around the same time, our wives were roommates at one point, got married, had kids, and have all generally lived in the same city and been in each other’s daily lives for almost 15 years now. Recently, they moved to Nashville, so although we don’t see each other as often now, we still daily keep in touch.
Anyway, during this beautiful weekend we took the kids out to a nice park in one of the Nashville suburbs and on a windy Saturday afternoon, we actually flew a kite. Literally. You hear of people using the phrase, “let’s go fly a kite” or maybe sarcastically suggesting for someone to “go fly a kite”. Well, we actually did it with the kids. And let me tell you, it was marvelous (I guess that’s why so many other folks have done this before right? lol). As usual, I had my video camera out video taping the whole process unfold (mostly capturing parents struggling to get the kite put together and kids running around in glee just happy to be there). My wife said something to our friends in that moment that she later told me. She said, I’m glad that he takes so many pictures and video tapes so many moments in our lives, because sometimes I think he moves so fast and is so future focused that he would totally miss the moment if he weren’t thinking about capturing it for the future.
There’s a running joke in our family (and coincidentally for the couple we were spending time with as well), that whenever the husbands are unable to attend one of our kids events we can’t rely on our wives to capture the moment for us. Usually though, it’s because they’re actually just focused on experiencing the moment. They’re too busy living and enjoying life to get caught up in editorializing it. Obviously as a reflector I think there’s some downside to that approach, but that’s why we’re a partnership. But the huge upside, something I admire about both of our wives is that they know how to live and be in the moment better than most people I know.
We do sort of live in a day and age where it’s a valid question: if you didn’t take a picture of it, did it really happen? That right there is a hot mess. But it shows how distracted we are perhaps. I’m still a fan of capturing moments, something about being able to come back to them in future shared moments of reflection is special (for example every holiday gathering- I’ll break out old videos of our family together on trips or previous holiday gatherings and everyone enjoys the collective trip down memory lane and this forges deeper bonds). Yet, I’m still working on what I’d like to call reveling in the moment. Greeting each day with the childlike expectancy and enthusiasm, and simply being happy to be here.
The next few weekends will give me the opportunity to practice this aspiration. We’re traveling to DC this weekend for TFA’s 25th anniversary reunion (05 corps!) and I’m looking forward to creating new memories and reliving old ones with lifelong partners in the education movement. Similarly, next weekend I’ll be participating in a Coke scholars interview weekend where again I’ll get to walk down memory lane a bit. As I prepare to board a flight in less than 3 hours, I’m preparing myself for the avalanche of emotions, mostly excitement and I’m looking forward to soaking up every minute of it. I might even take a few pictures. Who are we kidding, I’m definitely taking a few pictures!