Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Epic Moments

Do you ever wish that life had a soundtrack playing in the background? The soundtracks to Gladiator and Batman have gotten me through many late-night study sessions. Just today I woke up to Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (guaranteed to instill instant belief that today will be beautiful and grand), cleaned the kitchen with the excitement of Vivaldi's Spring, and then proceeded to make scones with melancholy and foreboding thanks to part of Dvorak's New World Symphony. Music just makes everyday moments so much more epic.

I used to live waiting for epic moments. How could I possibly enjoy the day's hum-drum assignments when there would be a party at the weekend, or a wedding next month, or a vacation abroad soon? As a young teenager, the film Inn of the Sixth Happiness caught my imagination, and somehow I got round to believing that life would be incomplete unless I did something as similarly glorious and noteworthy as leading orphan children to safety in China. I felt that I wouldn't have really lived unless I had an epic moment of my own.

I now think differently. What if epic moments are disguised as part of the everyday? What if the moments that I'll look back on someday with most appreciation are snippets from this summer such as...

...an evening at Starbucks with my brother...
...watching Les Miserables with my mother (her first time)...
...curling up with a great book and a cup of tea, listening to a thunderstorm...
...catching up with old friends and meeting awesome new people...
...listening to my teenage students' sometimes-deep, sometimes-hilarious, always-creative explanations of modern art...
...feeling the love and appreciation of those same students...
...eating fresh raspberries and tomatoes from the garden...?

And what if the moments of greatest significance you bring to other people are also disguised as small things?

What if it's the small talk you make with a tired supermarket cashier?
What if it's the smile and the spare change you give to a homeless person?
What if it's the way you make your family feel loved?
What if it's the time you take to call or write to a friend?

Perhaps many of our epic moments come without fanfare and soundtracks. What moments will you experience today?
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." - Robert Brault