By Michele Genzardi
Living in the now, in the moment, cherishing each memory, forgetting about the to-do lists, the laundry, the bills and simply living in the here and now.
Those things sound so easy; and I plan to do them all the time. The lunch with a friend, that I keep putting off because the drive is just a bit too far. The picnic in the woods with the kids, that I keep re-scheduling because of playdates, or practices or honestly because the kids are loud and hyper and I’m tired. The date nights, that become movie nights, because we’ve been going all day, and the couch seems easier than a night out, or laying under the stars. Those big moments—the ones that I want to cherish—are the ones we plan. They are the vacations, the holidays, the first soccer game or big job promotion. Yet in living life, we somehow forgot to take an active part in that life, in the now; in the mess, the silly everyday moments that can become memories.
Three weeks ago, my life changed. A normal Sunday ended with me unconscious in the back of an EMS. The ensuing three weeks would be marked with countless hospital visits, more tests than I can remember, and an exhaustion and inability to focus that I’ve never dealt with before. For the first time, I am on some scale confronted with my own mortality, and it scares the life out of me.
It was the one night, laying in the hospital room waiting for another test, that I found myself wondering what if this was it. What if my life was just this? 29 years and then I’d be just a memory. What memory would my children remember?
Would it be stressed about dinner, or rushing to the store for the forgotten eggs? Would they remember the hikes to nowhere that we haven’t gone on often enough? Would they recall the road trips, the mini-adventures that so often can be pushed aside? Or would they simply remember little glimpses of me—a run to the store, a Disney trip, the big moments, with the small most precious ones lost forever in the things we didn’t do?
The health crisis isn’t over; the testing is ongoing, and the day to day of my life right now quite honestly sucks, yet I am renewed in one way, in the absolute desire to ensure that I take each day even now in the drudges of confusion to experience the now. To climb exhausted out of bed to read my daughter a bed time story, to rest as much as I can before the boys come home so I can squeal with excitement over their day’s achievements.
On the nights now where I’d rather sleep, I take a moment to dance with no music with my husband.
I plan now, but for the short term; the upcoming trip to big bend, road tripping with our whole family to Missouri, and the other night I opened the door to the rain and let myself smell it, feel it, live it, without worrying about the floor getting wet, or my hair—simply living in the now.
This moment in time as taught me more than any previous moments in my life. It took feeling as though I was losing my life to want it so badly. To stop worrying so much about the right hike, and just letting the kids enjoy whatever hike we find. To stop planning for a picnic, and just have the damn picnic. To laugh when the dogs ruin dinner instead of losing my cool. To smile. To dance as much as possible.
I’ve learned that life happens, and it happens big sometimes, like in the births and the weddings. Yet, it also happens small—in the tea parties, and fort making and homemade play doh. Life happens in the middle of the night when you’re dancing with the one you love barefoot in your living room. It happens when your daughter lays her jelly stained cheek on your lap to say I love you. Life isn’t waiting for the big moments; this isn’t some play where we only act out the starring role.
We are in every part of this adventure.
We are here for the good, the bad, the hard and the amazing. We must live it all, take each moment and cherish it. Schedule that drive to see a friend that lives further away, lose yourself in a game of make believe with your children.
Dance with your spouse.
Live each day as though it’s your last, so that when that day comes, there are no regrets, there are no I wish I did this, or made time for that. Live today as though it’s all we have, for it really is. Today is all we know for sure, so treat it like the adventure it truly is.
Michele Genzardi lives in San Antonio Texas with her husband, three kids and her dog, she is a nomad and gypsy traveler at heart, a writer who also loves photography. She is a history nerd and bookworm, who loves to sink her toes into nature.
Editor: Dana Gornall