“We are the sum of all the moments in our lives – all that is ours is in them: we cannot escape it or conceal it.” — Thomas Wolfe
The interesting thing about seeing is that you can’t go back to being oblivious to the world around you. More to the point, you learn to see yourself as you are. And then you spend the rest of your days figuring out what to do about it.
Figuring out how we got the way we are is a different story, and there are plenty of people who make it their profession to steer you down the path towards enlightenment on this particular question. Personally, I like to leave the past where it lies and focus on the bits I can control now. But there’s no getting around the fact that the sum of our lives brought us to this point. How that fuels the fire in our heart and soul determines where we go from here.
I went to the wake of a kind soul yesterday, a man who always smiled when I saw him, and built a collection of family and friends who honored him at his passing. I reviewed the obligatory poster boards and digital display on the monitors full of his life memories. This wasn’t the sum of his life, but it was a good sample pack of the highlights. His hopes and dreams passed with him, but the momentum of his life was on display for all to see.
Seeing ourselves as the sum of our moments, we recognize we’re still collecting. Still changing the story of our lives one memory at a time. Like stamps in a passport that shows where we’ve been, pictures and stories flesh out our past. Each face looking back at you is a part of the whole, and part of your whole, whether the ripple was large or barely perceptible. Each reminds us to move through this life with elegance and intent. To collect our own sum in our time. And share it with the world.