If you were asked today to give your eulogy, what would you say? What is it you’d want people to know? For most of us, our thoughts turn to the people and experiences we remember most fondly. These are our special moments.
We are the sum of our experiences, and our experiences shape and reshape us into the person we become. Along this journey, we have moments that leave a mark. Maya Angelou once said, “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
A moment doesn’t have to be big to be special; it only must mean a lot to you. For example, my high school and college graduations were significant events, but they weren’t moments that changed me significantly. Education was a means to an end. On the other hand, deciding to go away to college and leave everything behind had a much more significant impact.
In this context, the word “moment” can be misleading. Is a moment a specific time or a series of experiences that all happened over time? Most people remember their lives as a series of experiences that occurred during different periods—for example, having children. The moment isn’t the exact time they were born. The moment starts when your wife tells you she is pregnant; if you’re lucky, it never ends.
Another example are the experiences we share with a group of friends formed around a specific job. Jobs last an average of four years, unlike in the past when people stayed at the same company or position for their entire career. During those four years, you’ll get close to people, have a series of experiences, and then move on to the next job. You’ll remember those four years as a moment in your life.
How you approach life changes as you get older. You look forward when you’re younger because you don’t have as many meaningful moments to reflect on. As you age, you have more to remember, and the special moments fill your thoughts. Some people even believe memory problems occur as our mind discards less meaningful day-to-day information to preserve space for these special moments.
There’s an old saying that when you die, your last thought won’t be, “I wish I had another day to work.” You’ll more likely wish you had more time with the people who meant the most to you. You’ll also be thinking about how you will be remembered. These thoughts drive a desire to connect with the people most important to us and revisit the special moments you shared with them.
If you’re lucky, your life will be full of many great moments with friends and family. Don’t wait until you’re on your deathbed to revisit them and reconnect with those people. You should also consider capturing them in some way to leave a legacy behind that helps people understand who you were, what you did, and why it was important to you.