Card makers, gift shops, and every major retailer wants you to believe that some moments are more important than others. Do not believe them. Graduations, weddings, births, and deaths - these are all occasions to give gifts and celebrate. But here's the secret no one's telling you: these moments in time are really no more significant than any other.
There is no card for "Today you will meet the love of your life while trying to decide if you want the venti or just the tall white mocha." You don't dress up for sitting on the bed listening to your daughter laugh while you tickle her, your chubby fingers under her delicate chin as you watch and soak in every second of her new laugh as she learns just how much she can take, cackles and chuckles rising to the ceiling as she gasps for air and tries to wiggle away only to look up at you with a full smile when you stop, daring you to do it again so she can feel what it's like to be ticklish and to be close and to be lost in your arms that are bigger than she can think of being right now. There are no balloons when you go for a walk to the cupcake store with your wife and no are songs written to commemorate picking up dinner on the way home after a long day at work so you can sit and eat with someone else - someone who inexplicably gets you and even celebrates the fact that after a grueling day of putting your dreams on hold, a Happy Meal and a milkshake is required eating before changing into pajamas at 7:30 so you can watch mindless sitcoms until it's time for bed and you do it all over again tomorrow.
These moments are significant. We must recognize them and celebrate.
Without the coffee shop encounter, we never make it to the wedding. Without tickles on the bed, we don't get to make a meaningful toast when she graduates. Without walks to the cupcake shop or bad fast food, there is nothing to mourn when they're gone.
A lot of life gets lost in the planning. We shop for the perfect dress, design the right invitations, register for gifts, talk about the big picture and dream our life away. And while lots of fun, the casualty of our wishing is that we sacrifice the present moment - the chance to just be - for the hope of a future self that may or may not come to fruition. That's a big risk, to pin our identity on a few moments in time captured eloquently on video or in a photo when we have the chance to be ourselves right now.
Soaking it up will do wonders for who it is you're trying to be. Because you're him. Or her. Right now. And that is significant.
Random breezes across your face while you lay out a blanket to read a book in the park should remind you that like the unpredictable, refreshing, and passing wind, your life is too important to be left up to your planning for what someone else defines as a significant moment. Create a meaningful moment in time with the people around you right now. Take a picture if you want to. And breathe deeply the love, hope, and significance of that moment.