I had a moment last weekend where time faded away, where I was completely lost in the moment. My son and I were running together through the woods, autumn New England leaves under our feet, dancing across the rough wooded terrain, talking and laughing and smiling the whole way.
I’ve been slammed at work lately. Every minute counts. Every hour that I’m not working on my consulting projects is an hour that I could be. I’m not working 24/7 — I’m getting to spend time with my wife and kids, getting time to exercise — I’m not overwhelmed. But I’m busy enough at work that I am conscious of how I’m spending my time, when I’m choosing to work and when I’m not, every hour of every day. In other words, rarely letting go of responsibility and productivity, even when I’m not working.
That’s why it felt so good to be lost in the moment with my son. It was one of the few times over the past month where I was 100% lost. Not 80% lost. Not 90% lost. But truly 100% absorbed in what i was doing so that I didn’t care what else in the world was happening. I’m not very good at mentally letting go of my responsibilities – home and work – so getting lost in the moment is an unusual experience for me.
We talked and laughed with each other. My son raced ahead, then fell behind, then ran right by my side. His thin legs darted over the roots and wood on the strong dirt path. The bounce in his step demonstrated both the eagerness and inexperience of youth. His mind isn’t filled yet with stress, responsibility, productivity — just joy and experiencing the moment. The beauty of a strong human child is unparalleled.
My love for the moment occurred, I think, because it combined the best elements of the human experience: running, nature, family, fun, adventure. No stress, anxiety, deadlines, co-workers tracking time sheets. Just beauty, wonder, freedom, and an experience, while not outside the ordinary, that I will treasure.
It was my favorite moment in the last few weeks. Let’s strive for more of them.
Originally written: October 2016. Republished: February 2018.