My friend and I met for drinks after work one evening in the early Spring. We had a small window of time to grab a bite. We were starving. We ordered more appetizers than we needed. A lot more. We took our time to select a glass of wine . The waitress indulged us with letting us try a few before we picked the perfect 2015 Cabernet.
And for the next two hours we lost ourselves in conversation.
We talked about work, we talked about kids. We talked about ordering even more appetizers. We remembered all the years we’d known one another, and we joked about all the money we now spend on anti-aging. We laughed until we cried.
We weren’t aware of it at the time, but we were taking that moment for granted. The ease of our friendship. The convenience of meeting after work. The pop of the cork from the wine.
We could never imagine that being together in that way would be impossible very soon. That the world, as we knew it, would change.
We never imagined that the doors to the restaurant would lock. Or that the next time we’d see one another would be on a Zoom call. If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught me, it’s to savor the moments.
The ability to jump in the car and drive to Baltimore to help my son and his partner decorate their Christmas tree.
Meeting my daughter downtown to grab lunch at the William Penn. Things I’ve always valued, but didn’t savor.
Seeing a friend on the street and embracing. It was so easy, so natural. Moments in time. Moments we took for granted.
When I look back at those moments, the millions of moments, I realize how often I didn’t savor them. I experienced them. I appreciated them.
But, from now on, I will savor them. To savor means to absorb the moment in my senses. The smell, the touch..the feel.
When Covid is over and I see a friend, I won’t engage in a meaningless hug. Instead, I’ll slow down. Take an extra few seconds. Feel the kindness of the embrace. Savor the moment.
The next ‘tree day’ with my son will involve every sense. I will breath in his warmth, smell the fresh cut tree, taste the textures of his ‘tree day stew.’
I won’t feel rushed at my next lunch with my daughter. I won’t worry about the parking meter. Instead, I’ll savor the moments.
I’ll hear the chatter of the waitstaff, the clinking of the glassware. I’ll absorb the sight and smell of butter melting on the warm rolls.
In 2020 we lost moments. Millions of moments. And throughout the world hundreds of thousands of people lost future moments too. They will never again have the opportunity to savor the moments.
They lost family, they lost parents and children and friends.
It’s these very moments that I know they will never have again, that remind me to savor the ones that I do. Every touch, every sound, every smell and every smile. I will savor each one.
Because 2020 taught something special.
It taught me that there is a profound loneliness caused by millions of missed moments. And it reminded me that drinks after work, or lunch with a friend are gifts to treasure. That the present moment is a magical place.
I hope each of us cherish the moments a little more when this is over. And that we recognize the millions of moments missed.