“The thing about knowing you’re doing something for the last time is that it takes the joy right out of it.” ― Lynda Rutledge, West with Giraffes
I walk through life with a reminder in my head: We may never pass this way again. Not the Seals & Crofts song, for that would leave me stuck in the 1970’s forever, but that phrase. And so it is that I bring more awareness to the things that I do, the conversations I have, the waterfalls and iconic artwork and scenic vistas I encounter. This may be the one and only time this living soul meets this person or encounters this spot, so try to make the most of it.
It’s a very stoic thing to say to oneself; we may never pass this way again. Marcus Aurelius would nod his head at the phrase, and find it familiar. He famously wrote a few reminders to himself about the urgency of the moment, giving us the gift of Meditations, a book everyone should read and linger with in their lifetime:
“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly. What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
There’s truth in Rutledge’s statement, for we can suck the joy right out of the moment believing it to be the last dance. Or alternatively, we can simply dance. Memories linger in moments of deep meaning. This begins with awareness of the fragility of our time together. It’s not a cause for sadness but celebration. We are dancing in this moment together! We might go through life believing our best moments are slipping away from us or live in the moment believing we’ve hit the lottery. Haven’t we?
We ought to go through life in this way, not mourning what will soon pass but appreciating what we are doing, where we are, who we are with, now. It’s a joyful moment when we celebrate and savor it.